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The forest is not only an attractive place for people, it also provides habitats for numerous animals and plants. Careless forest visitors can disturb sensitive animals, damage plants and impair the soil. Most forest visitors are not fully aware of the consequences of their activities for the forest habitat.
The jogger disturbs a deer browsing in the clearing, the walker surprises a fox at the pond and the people having a picnic sit right under the nest of a blackcap who no longer dares to feed her young. A family gathering twigs for the fire makes no effort to avoid breaking of live branches and a group of careless visitors leave their rubbish behind after their afternoon snack.
Disturbances do not have the same effect at all times of the day and in all seasons. Some animals can adapt well to forest visitors, whereas others are very sensitive to disturbance, just as some plant species are very robust while others are easily damaged. Many animals search for food at dawn and dusk and are, therefore, very vulnerable to disturbance at these times. In winter when food is scarce animals must conserve energy. Thus, disturbances in winter are worse than in summer. The opposite applies to plants. They are most vulnerable during their growing season, i.e. spring and summer.
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