Citizen science for monitoring wild herbivores

Collecting wild and domestic ungulate droppings for the HerbiLand project

As part of this project on the population dynamics of wild herbivores in supra-forest environments, one of the scientific objectives is to determine the plant species on alpine shrubs consumed by different species of wild and domestic ungulates: chamois, ibex, deer, sheep and cows.

Find out more about the HerbiLand project, financed by the European FEDER Massif Alpes 2021-2027 and co-financed by the Fondation Alpes Sauvages, led by CREA Mont-Blanc in technical and operational partnership with the OFB Office Français de la Biodiversité and the Laboratoire d’Écologie Alpine CNRS-LECA.

Take part in field surveys

On the Mont-Blanc massif, CREA Mont-Blanc is inviting volunteers to take part in field surveys of wild ungulate droppings (deer, chamois, ibex). Contact us if you’d like to join our team!

Collecting the droppings of these herbivores will make it possible to estimate the importance of heathland species in their diet, whether low-growing woody plants are eaten, at what season and in what proportion compared with herbaceous plants, and by which ungulates. We will also be able to estimate the overlap in diet between wild ungulates depending on the season, and between wild and domestic ungulates in summer.

The study sectors in the Mont-Blanc massif and Chamonix valley are Loriaz, Peclerey and Blaitière during the snow-free period in the supra-forest zone (around May-November).

Click here to see the map

The first droppings collection course took place on Wednesday 2 August 2023 in the Observatory garden. It was an opportunity for each participant to take part in a scientific approach, learn how to use identification keys, recognise the droppings of herbivores and leave with collection tubes to play an active part in the project.

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