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Estimating Gopher Populations and Their Abatement in Forest Plantations

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Indirect sampling methods for pocket gophers (Family: Geomyidae) lack adequate assessment for accuracy and efficiency. During gopher abatement trials in forest clearcuts, our new "burrow index" accounted for 95% of the gophers, while the widely used 24 hr open-hole test accounted for only 68%. Using published data, we found that mound counts and plot occupancy provided precise estimates (R² = 0.76 - 0.99) of gopher density in clearcuts. We recommend the more efficient "burrow index" for sampling gophers, and "effective depopulation" for estimating population change due to abatement, after accounting for natural population dynamics in "control" plots. A modified burrow index on strip transects can be used for measuring association of gophers with ecological variables. For. Sci. 41(2):284-296.

Keywords: Clearcuts; Geomyidae; damage; management; monitoring; pocket gopher; regeneration

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Environmental Protection Agency, Registration Div. (H7505C), 401 M Street SW, Washington, DC 20460

Publication date: May 1, 1995

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