Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

A survey of the vertebrate animals of Mount Jefferson, Oregon

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  • The Mount Jefferson Primitive Area is one of three High Cascade wilderness areas in Oregon. It is second in size among these, covers approximately 136 square miles, and with the addition of a large roadless area in Warm Springs Indian Reservation represents the only one of these areas in Oregon extending for a considerable distance on both sides of the crest line. This study covers approximately 7 weeks of field research, spread over more than 2 years, into the occurrence, distribution, arid migration patterns of 35 species of Oregon Cascade mammals, 55 species of birds, and the occurrence and distribution of 11 species of amphibians and reptiles. Elevations of habitats examined ranged from 2500 to 9000 feet. The habitats included dense Douglas fir-western hemlock forest, burn, park, slope, terrace, meadow, bog, stream bed, ridge, timberline, alpine, talus, and lake communities. Geological, weather, and vegetational studies contributing to an understanding of local habitat features were reviewed. The migration routes followed by several species of large Cascade mammals have extended beyond the Primitive Area boundaries, and the wilderness is inadequate to provide sanctuary for these during the winter months. Medium-sized mammals not migrating for these distances appear to be diminishing in number. Although the original intention for the wilderness areas included the preservation of habitats for animal species, current recreational use and the increased timber cutting now reaching almost to the Primitive Area boundaries have caused diminution in numbers of all non-migrant mammals and some birds except those of the deepest snow zones. Only the small mammals have not been reduced extensively, and even these, in areas like Jefferson Park, are experiencing some loss of habitat through recreational use. Industrial involvement of this and adjacent areas, with compression of the actual wilderness, has since 1905 caused the extinction of at least 3 species of large mammals and the near extinction of 1 more locally.
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