Response of Deer, Hare, and Grouse to Whole-Tree Harvesting in Central Appalachia

The effects of whole-tree harvesting upon white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) , snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) , and ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) were studied from 1978 through 1981 in southcentral West Virginia. Transect sampling by recording fecal pellets was conducted in mature forest and in clearcuts ranging from 0 to 8 years of age. Use of clearcuts created by whole-tree harvesting was compared to use of those created by conventional clearcutting. Deer used whole-tree clearcuts more than conventional clearcuts, but hare used conventional clearcuts more than whole-tree clear- cuts. Ruffed grouse data were too limited to indicate the influence of type or age of clearcut. Whole-tree harvest can be used to increase certain species of wildlife, but additional studies are needed to determine the long-range impacts.

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