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Green Foliage Losses from Ponderosa Pines Induced by Abert Squirrels and Snowstorms: A Comparison

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Abert squirrels (Sciurus aberti) are obligate herbivores on ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa). The inner bark of pine shoots is considered one of the predominant food resources obtained by foraging squirrels. As squirrels forage for this resource they induce green needle losses from chosen feed trees. Amounts of induced green needle losses appear to vary according to the availability of alternative foods and squirrel population densities. Weather also induces green needle losses to ponderosa pines. Results of this study indicate that, at least in some years, heavy snowstorms can induce greater amounts of green needle losses than squirrels. Squirrel herbivory was not indicated as a factor in any tree mortality. However, losses due to snowstorms are more severe since they may cause the actual depletion of trees in the forest because of the tree mortality they inflict. West. J. Appl. For. 8(1):16-18.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011

Publication date: 1993-01-01

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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 Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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