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White-Tailed Deer Browse Preferences in a Southern Bottomland Hardwood Forest

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We examined spring and summer use of woody browse by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in forest gaps created by group selection timber harvest in a South Carolina bottomland hardwood forest during 1995 and 1996. Percent available twigs browsed, relative abundance, and relative use were calculated for each species with more than 50 twigs sampled. We used chi-square analysis to rate species as preferred, proportional, or low use. Total percent browsed was low in both years (2.5% in 1995; 3.0% in 1996). In 1995, 6 species were rated as high use, 4 species as proportional use, and 10 species as low use. In 1996, 6 species were rated as high use, 7 as proportional use, and 9 as low use. Species ratings generally were in agreement with other food habits studies in the Southeast. Preferred browse species included red maple (Acer rubrum), winged elm (Ulmus alata), greenbrier (Smilax spp.), and black willow (Salix nigra). The low rates of browsing probably were due to low use of the study area by deer during the growing season. Deer browsing likely had little impact on regeneration of most species in this bottomland hardwood forest. South. J. Appl. For. 23(2):78-82.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Juneau, AK 99801

Publication date: 1999-05-01

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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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