The seasonal effects on mule deer habitat from large and small scale logging operations Fukomoto, Brent
Thermal retention and canopy cover is currently regarded as the most important attributes for mule deer survival rates in the winter months and in creating successful winter ranges. Mule deer winter ranges have specialised retention objectives that are specific to each area and can vary from region to region. These current strategies ignore other seasonal ranges or attributes such as year round forage opportunities and large scale managed stands with high levels of biodiversity. This paper will bring to light the effects of both large and small scale logging operations on mule deer habitat, and the importance that both operations have on creating productive mule deer population levels. From this analysis, suggestions for potential silviculture enhancements will be made on how to improve young regenerated Lodgepole pine stands in regards to creating better summer forage opportunities; while still maintaining suitable winter range areas for protection in high snow years. Pre-commercial thinning will be the main enhancement focused on in this paper and how it can provide varying levels of year round attributes that will be vital to mule deer success rates. These silviculture enhancements will not only improve mule deer habitat but will also create more productive timber stands and higher levels of biodiversity.
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