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Monday, August 6 • 4:30pm - Friday, August 10 •12:00pm
Poster: Knowledge of Foraging Behavior Influences Estimates of Forage Resources for Columbian Black-tailed Deer

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AUTHORS: Amy C. Ulappa, School of the Environment, Washington State University, and Department of Biological Sciences, Boise State University; Lisa A. Shipley*, School of the Environment, Washington State University; Rachel C. Cook,

ABSTRACT: Evaluating the ability of a landscape to support wild herbivores is critical for understanding and predicting the effects of habitat characteristics and land management activities on these populations. Because plants vary in nutritional quality, the abundance of nutritious forage directly influences survival and reproduction of herbivores and the number of herbivores that a unit of habitat can support [1]. Therefore, accurately assessing forage resources requires assessing both the quality and quantity of forage and is necessary for evaluating habitat quality and the effects of habitat changes. One method that combines quality and quantity of forage to determine how much vegetation biomass ungulates can actually use is the Forage Resource Evaluation System for Habitats (FRESH) model. The FRESH-model uses linear programming to find the maximum biomass that, taken together, meets a minimum specified nutritional requirement (i.e., useable biomass, kg/ha) [2]. Because measuring quantity and quality of forage across landscapes is time- and resource-intensive, we examined the effect of using prior knowledge of diet selection and reducing resolution of plant sampling on estimating useable biomass for Columbian black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) in the Pacific Northwestern United States. We calculated useable biomass for 98 sites that varied greatly in composition and amount of understory vegetation using two different scenarios and compared the resulting useable biomass estimates. In one scenario, we accounted for knowledge about what foraging deer will eat and separated stems and leaves of important plant groups and limited use of plants with plant secondary compounds known to limit intake. In the second scenario, we did not account for a priori knowledge of what deer would select and combined plant parts.
On average, useable biomass calculated accounting for deer knowledge was higher than useable biomass calculated with no knowledge of deer diets (paired t-test, t97 = 4.57, p

458798 pdf

Monday August 6, 2018 4:30pm - Friday August 10, 2018 12:00pm MDT
Assembly Hall Foyer

Attendees (3)