Black Bear Habitat In North Georgia: Some Implications Of Wilderness Designation

Telemetry information from 15 black bears (Ursus americanus) in northeastern Georgia were analyzed relative to den use, habitat type, elevation, and proximity to paved roads. Upland hardwoods, located at higher elevations and farther from paved roads, were preferred, especially by adult females during the denning season. These and other findings were used to evaluate the impact of proposed wilderness areas. Major advantages would include protection of den trees and hard mast supplies associated with mature hardwood stands. Reduced accessibility to humans should increase bear survival and allow emigration onto surrounding lands. Two major disadvantages would be possibly unreliable soft mast production, and the inability to do any corrective management should the habitat deteriorate.

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