Determining Deer Habitat Capability in Ouachita National Forest Pine Stands

On the Ouachita National Forest of Arkansas and Oklahoma, mean total forage yields in various age shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) stands ranged from 1,914 kg/ha in young stands to 172 kg/ha beneath mature stands. Forage nutrient analysis in late summer revealed low phosphorus (0.12%), low crude protein (7.72%), high calcium (1.07%), and wide Ca:P ratio (9.5) averages. Average crude protein was significantly higher (8.22%) in stands with site index <61 than in stands with site index ≥61 (7.23%). Timber stand age and basal area related to deer (Odocoileus virginianus) forage yields will help managers assess present and future deer habitat capability levels.

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