The effects of prescribed burning on mule deer wintering at Lava Beds National Monument Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/s4655k453

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  • Field studies were conducted during January, February and March of 1976 and 1977 to evaluate the effects of a prescribed burning program on mule deer at Lava Beds National Monument. Visual observation, radio-telemetry and pellet-group plots were utilized to investigate deer distribution, food habits, movement patterns and behavioral responses to three burns. Deer were found to occupy discrete home ranges during the winter, with a variety of spatial and temporal patterns of use. It appeared that deer with home ranges in tall, dense vegetation had smaller home ranges than deer occupying more open areas. Four methods for measuring home range size were compared and discussed. Bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) was the most important browse species during both winters The use of green shoots increased during both winters, especially in the burned area. Deer were found to utilize topographical irregularities, as well as dense vegetation, to avoid strong winds. Utilization of burned areas appeared to be more highly correlated with changes in cover, rather than with changes in food availability. There was evidence that deer returned to the same home range each year, despite varying weather conditions. Thus, it appeared that the deer responded to the burns only if their home range was adjacent to them, and were not attracted or displaced by the presence of the burns. Based on the sizes of observed home ranges, and the probable sizes of contiguous burned areas. in the future, it was concluded that deer would not be adversely affected by the prescribed burning program.
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