Bottomland Hardwood Forest Management for Black Bears in Louisiana

We studied habitat use by 32 radio-collared black bears (Ursus americanus luteolus) in the Tensas River Basin of Louisiana during April 1988-90. Preliminary data from telemetry and field observations were combined with a literature review to develop bottomland hardwood forest management guidelines for bears on Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge. Logged areas provided feeding, resting, denning, and escape opportunities for bears. Bears used bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), brushpiles, and ground nests for winter dens. Wooded drainages that traversed agricultural expanses were used as travel corridors. Even-aged management with a 100-year rotation, and selective cutting techniques were recommended to balance timber age classes, enhance habitat diversity, and provide stable food sources, denning sites, and cover. Other recommendations included creation of old-growth timber stands, maintenance of forest openings, preservation of habitat linkages, and reforestation of old agricultural lands.

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