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Spatial and temporal variation in interspecific interaction: impact of a recreational landscape

Marion, S. and Demšar, U. and Davies, A.L. and Stephens, P.A. and Irvine, R.J. and Long, J.A. (2022) 'Spatial and temporal variation in interspecific interaction: impact of a recreational landscape.', European Journal of Wildlife Research, 68 (3). p. 36.


Anthropogenic activities, such as outdoor recreation, have the potential to change complex interactions between wildlife and livestock, with further consequences for the management of both animals, the environment, and disease transmission. We present the interaction amongst wildlife, livestock, and outdoor recreationists as a three-way interaction. Little is known about how recreational activities alter the interaction between herbivores in areas extensively used of recreational purposes. We investigate how hiking activity affects spatio-temporal co-occurrence between domestic sheep (Ovis aries) and red deer (Cervus elaphus). We used camera traps to capture the spatio-temporal distribution of red deer and sheep at varying distances from a popular hiking trail. We used the distance from the hiking path as a proxy of hiking activity. We used generalized linear models to investigate the spatial distribution of sheep and deer. We analysed the activity patterns of sheep and deer and then calculated their coefficients of temporal overlap for each camera trap location using a non-parametric kernel density estimation method. We compared these coefficients in relation to the distance from the hiking path. Finally, we used a generalized linear mixed-model to investigate which factors influence the spatio-temporal succession between deer and sheep. We do not find that sheep and red deer spatially avoid each other, but we did find that sheep temporally avoid red deer, while red deer do not appear to temporally avoid sheep. The coefficient of temporal overlap varied with distance from the hiking trail, with stronger temporal co-occurrence at greater distances from the hiking trail. Red deer were more likely to be detected further from the path during the day, which increased the temporal overlap with sheep in these areas. This suggests that hiking pressure influences spatio-temporal interactions between sheep and deer, leading to greater temporal overlap in areas further from the hiking path due to red deer spatial avoidance of hikers. This impact of recreationists on the wildlife – livestock interaction can have consequences for the animals’ welfare, the vegetation they graze, their management and disease transmission.

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Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date accepted:06 May 2022
Date deposited:10 May 2022
Date of first online publication:17 May 2022
Date first made open access:14 July 2022

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