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Deer Habitat on the Ocala National Forest: Improvement Through Forest Management

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Because of a presumed decline in the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) herd on the Ocala National Forest in central Florida, mast and available forage were assessed in the forest's two major habitats: sand pine-scrub oak (SP-SO) and longleaf pine-turkey oak (LLP-TO). Deer food was most abundant in young stands of SP-SO and LLP-TO and least abundant in 25- to 40-year-old stands of SP-SO and mature stands of turkey oak. Phosphorus was much lower in simulated diets from all SP-SO stands than the dietary requirement thought necessary for adult deer, perhaps partially accounting for the low reproductive rate on the forest. Availability of deer food can be increased in SP-SO habitat by thinning closed-canopy stands more than 30 years old and, in LLP-TO habitat, by prescribed burning of longleaf pine stands at least once every three years and by removing low-mast producers from mature stands of turkey oak.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Regional Game Biologist, Central Region, Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Ocala, Florida

Publication date: 1980-05-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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