A methodology for verifying/determining the boundaries of game management regions: a case study of the regional directorate of the state forests in Lublin (Poland)


Wildlife management is an integral part of forest management, and game animals should be considered an essential part of the forest ecosystem and agroecosystems in which the flow of energy changed fundamentally during the 20th century due to the use of fertilisers, pesticides, and modern technologies. An approximately four-fold increase in the production of crops brought with it an increase in the number of ungulates in the world. The tasks of foresters and hunters in wildlife management include creating the best suitable living conditions for animals and mitigating conflicts between forest animals and human activities. This necessitates the creation and implementation of modern land units called Game Management Regions (GMRs) in Poland. This concept was defined in the Polish Hunting Law primarily for managing big game populations. The aim of the GMRs is to ensure year-long management of game populations within their respective ranges. Long-term Hunting Management Plans were developed for each GMR, serving as the basis for adopting management directions, and achieving the desired state of the game population as recorded in the multi-year plan (typically spanning ten years). However, experiences and the current situation reveal several weaknesses in the functioning of these divisions, including rapid changes in the environment, particularly the emergence of barriers like highways and new buildings. This research aimed to develop a method for determining or verifying the boundaries of the GMRs based on objective criteria as a case study hosted by the Regional Directorate of State Forests in Lublin. During the conducted analysis we examined data provided by the Regional Directorate of State Forests (RDSF) in Lublin, including information on the current density of red deer (Cervus elaphus), forest cover, forest patch fragmentation, categories of hunting districts, ecological corridors, as well as existing, under-construction and planned highways and expressways. The boundaries of the GMRs were determined by aggregating hunting districts with similar characteristics using GIS software while considering ecological barriers. The analysis results indicated the need to establish 12 divisions instead of 8, with significant deviations from the previous delimitation. The obtained results underscore the necessity of verifying the boundaries of the GMRs nationwide.


Maciej Wójcik
Maciej Wójcik
Vladimir Hanzal
Vladimir Hanzal
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