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Use of restoration-treated ponderosa pine forest by tassel-eared squirrels

Chad D. Loberger, Tad C. Theimer, Steven S. Rosenstock, Catherine S. Wightman and Michael A. Steele
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 92, No. 5 (October 2011), pp. 1021-1027
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23259937
Page Count: 7
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Abstract

The tassel-eared squirrel (Sciurus aberti) is dependent on ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) for food and cover and is likely to be affected by management treatments intended to restore currently dense ponderosa pine forests to presettlement, more-open stand structure. We used radiotelemetry to determine how restoration treatments affected habitat use by tassel-eared squirrels. Mean 50% fixed kernel core areas and 85% fixed kernel home ranges were significantly smaller in winter (core = 1.1 ha; home range = 5.1 ha) than nonwinter (core = 3.48 ha; home range = 13.81 ha), and squirrels selected untreated forests and areas with high (51—75%) canopy cover for these winter areas. During nonwinter core areas and home ranges expanded to include treated areas with high canopy cover (51—75%). Squirrels placed the majority of winter nests in areas with >51% canopy cover and high (0.0601—0.0819 kg/m 3 ) crown bulk density. Given the apparent importance of denser, untreated patches and treated areas with canopy cover of 51—75% in winter, we suggest retaining some areas with these characteristics where it is compatible with other forest management objectives.

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