Category: Ecological Research
Title: Fact Sheet: Summer Habitat Use by Adult Female Mule Deer in a Restoration-Treated Ponderosa Pine Forest. ERI Fact Sheet.
Author: Yarborough, R.F.
Subject: Mule Deer, Habitat, Restoration, Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)
Abstract: Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations in the Southwest have experienced declines in the past 50 years due to habitat degradation from fire suppression, exotic species invasion, and increased livestock grazing. Habi-tat requirements of mule deer include an abundance of high-quality herbaceous forage, vegetation cover that pro-vides protection from predators and weather, and access to reliable water sources. Summer forage availability and quality affects doe productivity and lactation, and fawn survival and growth prior to a resource-limited win-ter; therefore, high-quality summer habitat is essential for maintaining healthy populations. In northern Arizona, mule deer summer home ranges commonly include ponderosa pine-dominated vegetation types, including extensive areas where large-scale restoration treatments have been implemented or are currently being planned. Restoration treatments that open tree canopies in ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forests often increase forage abundance and diversity and subsequent use by mule deer; however, these treatments may also reduce hiding cover and alter the microclimate and physical characteristics of day-bed sites. In this study, we sought to exam-ine the effects of forest restoration on the relative intensity of summer habitat-use patterns of mule deer. Our objectives were to 1) spatially define individual home range and core areas, 2) de-velop a spatially explicit statistical model of intensity of habitat use, and 3) make recommendations that will help land managers provide essential forage and cover attributes for mule deer while restoring forest structure and reducing the risk of uncharacteristic, high-intensity wildfire.
Type: Fact Sheet
Source: Ecological Restoration Institute
Publisher: Ecological Restoration Institute/NAU