The project’s main purpose is to evaluate the effects of management-relevant levels of anthropogenic disturbance on resource use and environmental impact of red deer.
We hypothesise that:
1) Tourism-related disturbance may alter habitat usage, time budgets and consequently foraging intensity of red deer.
2) Red deer maintain biodiverse short-sward grassland habitats which are refuges and breeding grounds for rare Lepidoptera species, more effectively than sheep.
3) Regular anthropogenic disturbances decrease the grazing intensity of red deer and, as such a less intensive grazing regime conducive for promoting suitable breeding habitat for rare Lepidoptera species can be established.
This work constitutes a PhD project. Expected outputs are a PhD thesis, several presentations at national and international conferences, a series of papers published in the peer-reviewed and popular literature, and information to help the owners of the Isle of Ulva decide on the future management of red deer and their habitat on the island.