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Selective Plant Species Inhibition by Elk and Deer in Three Conifer Communities in Western Washington

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Vegetation inside and outside four ungulate exclosures was compared in a western slope watershed of the Cascade Mountains, west-central Washington, U.S.A. One site was located in a floodplain community dominated by mature red alder; another was in a recent Douglas-fir and western hemlock clearcut; and two were on an electrical powerline right-of-way corridor. Age of the exclosures ranged from 4 to 8 years, and significant differences in species composition inside and outside were demonstrated at each. A similar pattern of vegetation response to elk and deer use was identified at all four sites. Shrubs were less abundant and graminoids were much more abundant outside than inside exclosures. Stem densities of Douglas-fir regeneration were greater outside than inside exclosures. Plant species responses to elk and deer use were interpreted as the result of a plant by plant replacement process and an advantage incurred by trampling-resistant growth forms. FOREST SCI. 26:97-107.
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Keywords: Cervus canadensis nelsoni; Odocoileus hemionus columbianus; Pseudotsuga menziesii; Tsuga heterophylla; exclosures; herbivore impact

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Professor, The College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Seattle 98195

Publication date: 1980-03-01

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    Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
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    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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