Function: Game population, Wildlife richness

Changes in annual game populations indicate also changes in the ecosystem. Land use and especially forestry has effect to habitat sizes and their condition. Also hunting regulates game populations. Annually defined hunting quotas, however, are set to secure the sustainable population levels.

Wildlife richness index is developed by Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute to monitor the changes of wellbeing of game species assemblages. The index takes into account the size and the distributions of game animal populations. The game species are divided to five groups; grouse, small carnivores, large carnivores, deer, and others. The index describes well the changes in long-term species assemblages. The data is based on triangle census data, collected by hunters and game researchers.

Dividing Finland to five areas reveal characteristics in different parts of the country. In western areas (2 and 4) ungulates, moose, white-tailed deer and roe-deer are dominant of the game species. Eastern Finland has relatively more large carnivores, such as wolves, lynxes and wolverines. Wildlife richness index is smaller in northern Finland where small predators and grouse are common.

Species indicating wildlife richness

Mountain hare Lepus timidus
Eurasian red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris
Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx
Grey wolf Canis lupus
Wolverine Gulo gulo
Pine marten Martes martes
Red fox Vulpes vulpes
Ermine Mustela erminea
White-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus
Moose Alces alces
Forest reindeer Rangifer tarandus fennicus
Roe deer Capreolus capreolus
Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus
Black grouse Tetrao tetrix
Hazel grouse Bonasa bonasia
Willow grouse Lagopus lagopus






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