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Availability and Use of Spring and Summer Woody Browse by Deer in Clearcut and Uncut Forests of the Southern Appalachians

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We sampled 1,890 vegetation plots in young clearcuts, clearcut-edges, and mature forests at 21 locations in the Southern Appalachians during the summers of 1985-1990. We tallied browsed and unbrowsed twig tips by species to assess woody browse availability and use by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Although each plot location produced an abundance of twigs, the mean numbers available to and browsed by deer were significantly greater in both clearcut and clearcut-edge plots than in mature forested plots. Twigs of several preferred deer browse species were more available and more heavily browsed in clearcut plots than in mature forested plots. Because of the large number of twigs available in all locations sampled, overall percent browsing was low (< 5%). Under present conditions on public lands in the Southern Appalachians, summer browse is adequately abundant for deer foraging and forest regeneration, but trends toward reduced clearcutting may alter this situation. South J. Appl. For. 17(3):116-119.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: USDA Forest Service, Blairsville, GA 30512

Publication date: 01 August 1993

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