Why was browsing by red deer more frequent but represented less consumed mass in young maple than in ash trees?!

https://doi.org/10.17221/70/2015-JFSCitation:Konôpka B., Pajtík J. (2015): Why was browsing by red deer more frequent but represented less consumed mass in young maple than in ash trees?! J. For. Sci., 61: 431-438.
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European ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) are considered amongst tree species as some of the most attractive forage for red deer (Cervus elaphus). The aim of this paper is to estimate branch and foliage mass browsing by red deer in young Sycamore maple and European ash in Central Slovakia and to analyze interspecific differences in browsing frequency and quantity. Altogether 665 ash trees and 701 maple trees were measured for height and stem diameter at the ground level. Red deer browsing, defined as leader shoot or lateral branch cropping, was recorded for all trees. A combination of the diameter of browsed branches and branch regression models allowed for the estimation of browsed (potentially consumed) mass by red deer. Results show that browsing occurred more frequently on maple (5 cases per tree) compared to ash (3 cases per tree); however, more total branch biomass was consumed in ash (10.7 g per tree) compared to maple (2.6 g per tree). This is because browsed branches were larger in ash than in maple. We assume that the difference in the size of browsed branches between ash and maple is relative to species-specific branch morphological and structural features.
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