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Availability, Quality, and Selection of Browse by White-Tailed Deer after Clearcutting

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We evaluated the effect of large-scale forest harvest on the production, nutritive quality, twig size, and use of four preferred species of browse by white-tailed deer in a spruce-fir forest in New Hampshire. Red maple produced the most new twigs (44-fold increase 3 years after harvest), and 99% of these were sprouts from stumps. Mountain maple and mountain ash twig production increased by factors of 3.5 and 1.9, respectively, and most twigs were borne on stems that survived the clearcutting. Most yellow birch (4-fold increase after 3 years) colonized from newly dispersed seed. For all species of browse except yellow birch, clearcutting resulted in (1) significantly larger, heavier twigs, and (2) significantly higher concentrations of protein and soluble carbohydrates. Deer removed a higher proportion of twigs from the clearcut than from the uncut forest. Mountain ash and mountain maple were the preferred species on both sites. Management implications are discussed. For. Sci. 37(1):261-270.

Keywords: Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest; Nutrition; Odocoileus virginianus

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

Publication date: March 1, 1991

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