Influence of farming practice on the ecology of the Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus).

Author Tapper, S.C. & Barnes, R.F.W.
Citation Tapper, S.C. & Barnes, R.F.W. (1986). Influence of farming practice on the ecology of the Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus). Journal of Applied Ecology, 23: 39-52.

Abstract

  1. The movements of individual hares were studied by radio-tracking on a mixed arable farm, and hare numbers were compared with farming patterns at nine farmland sites in different parts of England.
  2. Hares preferred to feed on short crops and their preference for cereals declined as crops developed beyond the tillering stages. Pastures were important feeding areas throughout the year.
  3. Hares often fed at night in a different area from the place where they sheltered during the day. Consequently, some hares moved between habitats daily.
  4. Woodlands and hedges were widely used as sheltering areas.
  5. Hares shifted their activities between fields according to crop development.
  6. The sizes and shapes of home ranges suggest that hares exploit those parts of the farm where there is easy access to a variety of crops.
  7. Hare numbers in autumn were positively associated with landscape diversity between study areas.
  8. Available data suggest that hare numbers have declined on farms where the landscape has been simplified by field enlargement and block farming.

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