Response of Ruffed Grouse to Forest Management in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

Densities of male ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) were measured during 1976-1995 on 4 study sites in Tennessee, 2 in Kentucky, and 1 in Georgia using intensive counts of drumming males as the indicator of density to determine the impact of clearcutting in the southern Appalachian Mountains. The number of territorial males ranged from 0 to 4.0/100 ha over all study areas (1976-1995). Densities increased in response to clearcutting in Tennessee suggesting this forest management practice enhances habitat for the species. The number of breeding males on 1 area experiencing 12% clearcutting over a 13-year period increased 443% from 0.7 males to 3.1 males/100 ha compared to a stable population on an adjacent unharvested control area (R2 = 0.8654; P = 0.001). Populations did not fluctuate cyclically on any of the study areas.

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