Assessing the long-term impacts of high moose densities on Gros Morne National Park

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University of New Brunswick


Moose (Alces alces) browsing in Gros Morne National Park (GMNP) has caused substantial damage to its current balsam fir (Abies balsamea)-dominated forest. In this study estimates of stocking rates, stand yield and carbon stocks were generated from a regeneration-survey focused on sites suppressed by moose browsing. Scenario analysis (i) assessed moose browsing and domestic harvest impacts on forest regeneration and development; (ii) carbon storage within the forest ecosystem; and (iii) quantified effectiveness of forest restoration strategies, such as moose population control and reforestation. Regeneration survey indicates that high moose browsing has resulted in a significant portion of regenerating areas to fall within the “not sufficiently regenerated” category (NSR). Scenario analysis shows continued heavy moose browsing levels will lower growth and yield expectations within the park and slowly transition balsam fir-dominated stand types to spruce. Optimizing carbon stocks within the park can increase forest ecosystem carbon stocks over baseline levels in GMNP.