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Population Changes of the Vertebrate Community during a Snowshoe Hare Cycle in Canada's Boreal Forest

Stan Boutin, C. J. Krebs, R. Boonstra, M. R. T. Dale, S. J. Hannon, K. Martin, A. R. E. Sinclair, J. N. M. Smith, R. Turkington, M. Blower, A. Byrom, F. I. Doyle, C. Doyle, D. Hik, L. Hofer, A. Hubbs, T. Karels, D. L. Murray, V. Nams, M. O'Donoghue, C. Rohner and S. Schweiger
Oikos
Vol. 74, No. 1 (Oct., 1995), pp. 69-80
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3545676
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3545676
Page Count: 12
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Population Changes of the Vertebrate Community during a Snowshoe Hare Cycle in Canada's Boreal Forest
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Abstract

We measured the density changes of 22 species of vertebrates during a snowshoe cycle in northern Canada. Hares were the dominant herbivore in the system and changes in their numbers were correlated with changes in numbers of arctic ground squirrel, spruce grouse, ptarmigan, lynx, coyote, great horned owl, goshawk, raven and hawk owl. Hare numbers were not correlated with numbers of red-backed vole which showed peaks during the low, increase, and early decline phases of the hare cycle. Hawk owls were the only predator whose numbers correlated with changes in red-backed voles while boreal owls and weasels were correlated with densities of Microtus. Red squirrel, American kestrel, red-tailed hawk, northern harrier, wolverine, magpie, and gray jay showed no correlation with hare or vole numbers. We conclude that species in the boreal forests of Canada do not exhibit the strong synchrony found between voles and other members of the vertebrate community in northern Fennoscandia. We discuss some of the possible reasons for these differences.

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