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Influence of Stand Thinning on Snowshoe Hare Population Dynamics and Feeding Damage in Lodgepole Pine Forest

T. P. Sullivan and D. S. Sullivan
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 25, No. 3 (Dec., 1988), pp. 791-805
DOI: 10.2307/2403746
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2403746
Page Count: 15
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Influence of Stand Thinning on Snowshoe Hare Population Dynamics and Feeding Damage in Lodgepole Pine Forest
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Abstract

(1) This study assessed the impact of stand thinning on the population dynamics of snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus Erxleben) during the late increase, peak and decline phases of the 10-year cycle. (2) Intensive population monitoring and assessment of feeding damage were conducted in a thinned stand and unthinned (control) stand of young lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl.) forest near Prince George, British Columbia, Canada from 1979 to 1983. (3) Population density and recruitment increased significantly in the thinned stand during the first winter after thinning, but declined thereafter as the habitat became less attractive to hares. (4) Stand thinning had little or no effect on reproduction or survival (residence) of hares, but did significantly reduce average body weight. (5) The intensity of feeding damage to crop trees coincided with the phases of the cycle with little damage to trees during the first post-thinning winter as hares fed on the fallen pine stems and foliage.

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