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Vegetational Gradients and Proximity to Woodchuck (Marmota monax) Burrows in an Old Field

Elizabeth I. English and Michael A. Bowers
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 75, No. 3 (Aug., 1994), pp. 775-780
DOI: 10.2307/1382530
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1382530
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Vegetational Gradients and Proximity to Woodchuck (Marmota monax) Burrows in an Old Field
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Abstract

Comparison of vegetation near and distant from 10 woodchuck (Marmota monax) burrows in a diverse field 6 years old revealed differences at both community and species levels. Total plant cover increased with distance from burrows. Species-richness was low near and distant from burrows and relatively high at intermediate distances, a result consistent with the intermediate disturbance hypothesis. Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense), Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), and fescue (Festuca elatior) increased, and orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata) decreased with distance from burrows. While woodchucks strongly affect only a small fraction of the field (ca. 2%), they are important agents in creating a vegetational mosaic and in creating source areas for species of colonizing plants.

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