The intrinsic rate of increase of reindeer and caribou populations in arctic environments
AbstractThe intrinsic rate of increase of an animal population, rm, is specific to the environment in which it is measured. Previous estimates of maximum growth rates for reindeer and caribou Rangifer tarandus populations were based on introductions to islands with cool oceanic climates. The mean intrinsic rate of increase of 6 populations was 0.26 ranging from 0.21 on St Paul Island in the Bering Sea to 0.29 in the Barff herd on South Georgia. I calculated rm for two Rangifer populations introduced to arctic environments to determine the effect of environmental severity on the intrinsic rate of increase. Reindeer on the Belcher islands increased at rm= 0.28 and caribou on Southampton Island increased at rm = 0.23 (mean = 0.26). The lower primary productivity and longer duration of snow cover in arctic environments did not affect the intrinsic rate of increase.
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