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Beaver Foraging Preferences and Impacts on Forest Structure - RAS


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Slides from my talk at the Rochester Academy of Sciences on 11/10/18. The thesis these slides draw from will be linked soon.

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Beaver Foraging Preferences and Impacts on Forest Structure - RAS

  1. 1. Beaver Foraging Preferences and Impacts on Forest Structure Adirondack Mountains, New York Michael J. Mahoney and John C. Stella, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  2. 2. Foraging Behavior • Central place foragers • Forage selectivity increases with distance from pond • In other regions, strong preferences for stems 2-5 centimeters and aspens
  3. 3. Research questions: •Are certain stem diameters and species preferentially foraged? •Can we effectively predict these preferences? •How does beaver activity impact forest structure?
  4. 4. Plot centers: • Canopy cover, slope 12.57 m2 plots: • Seedling density, all woody vegetation 50.27 m2 plots: • All woody vegetation over 5 cm
  5. 5. Foraging was concentrated close to the impoundment…
  6. 6. …with a clear preference for stems of 2-5 cm
  7. 7. Deciduous species were strongly preferred
  8. 8. Models show preference for close stems of intermediate size
  9. 9. Models show preferences for close stems of intermediate size
  10. 10. Impacts on canopy closure are linear with distance, but vary with site type
  11. 11. Seedling density increased with distance…
  12. 12. …correlating with canopy closure.
  13. 13. Conclusions • Beaver prefer stems that are smaller, closer, of preferred species • Foraging and flooding have large effects on riparian community • Similar patterns (though not identical) in Northeast as other regions
  14. 14. Importance & future work: • Beaver populations going to increase • Conflicts between beavers and humans going to increase • Management challenges – and opportunities – going to increase!
  15. 15. Thank you! Thanks to: • Rachel Zevin • Anna Harrison • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Photo credits: “Happy Beaver”. Steve Hersey, 2007. Retrieved from October 3, 2018. CC-BY-SA “Range”. Scott E. Hygnstrom, 2009. Retrieved from October 30, 2018. “Steelhead”. Oregon State University, 2016. Retrieved from October 3, 2018. CC-BY-SA “Rana septrionalis (mink frog)”. Alan Wolf, 1995. Retrieved from October 3, 2018. CC-NC-BY “Mallard”. Katja Schulz, 2016. Retrieved from October 3, 2018. CC-BY
  16. 16. 1. Title 2. About beavers 3. Historic Range 4. Photo: impoundment 5. Photo: burst dam 6. Foraging Behavior 7. Research questions 8. Site map 9. Site image 10.Forage area 11. Transects 12. Measurements 13.Distance selectivity 14. Size selectivity 15. Deciduous and coniferous 16. Group models 17. Species models 18. Canopy closure 19. Seedlings and distance 20. Seedlings and canopy cover 21.Conclusions 22. Importance 23. Photos: importance 24. Acknowledgements 25. List of slides List of Slides