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Production of Important Black Bear Foods in the Southern Appalachians

Roger A. Powell and D. Erran Seaman
Bears: Their Biology and Management
Vol. 8, A Selection of Papers from the Eighth International Conference on Bear Research and Management, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, February 1989 (1990), pp. 183-187
DOI: 10.2307/3872918
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3872918
Page Count: 5
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Production of Important Black Bear Foods in the Southern Appalachians
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Abstract

Production of foods has been linked to population sizes, social organization and mating strategies of many vertebrates, yet few studies of bears have quantified food production. In the Southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, we quantified production of 2 important foods for black bears (Ursus americanus) during 1986-1988 and the U.S Forest Service quantified a third between 1962 and 1973. Annual production of squaw root (Conopholis americana) averaged 4.14 kg/ha whereas annual production of berries (Vaccinium spp., Gaylussacia spp., Rubus spp.) averaged 52 kg/ha in areas with berry bush cover, which translates to 2.6 kg/ha over the whole forest (including areas without berry cover). Mean gross energy production by squaw root was 4.97 × 103 kcal/ha and by berries, 1.64 × 103 kcal/ha. Current mean acorn (Quercus spp.) production in the study area is expected to be similar to the 58.1 kg/ha measured between 1962 and 1973. This production of food is significantly higher than that reported for black bears in northern Minnesota.

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