Vegetation and ungulate response to forest clearings in the Duck Mountains, Manitoba

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Schewe, Anita.
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A habitat manipulation project was undertaken by the Department of Natural Resources on the edge of the Duck Mountain, Manitoba, to increase the moose (Alces alces), elk (Cervus elaphus), and whitetailed deer(Odocoileus virginianus) use of large mature stands of trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) and balsam poplar (P. balsamifera). The Duck Mountain is located in the northwest corner of southern Manitoba. The four sites (Sarah Lake, Lidstone, Garland Canyon and Mink Creek) selected for manipulation are on the edge of the Duck Mountain Forest Reserve. Between 1972 and 1978, 238 plots in the four sites were cleared with bulldozers and chainsaws. The areas that have been cleared were formerly used for logging and agriculture. The main vegetation on these disturbed sites was mature poplar forest. The dense stands of aspen and balsam poplar provided litt1e available browse for the ungulates. There were few shrubs under the dense tree canopy. The ground cover was made up of shade tolerant species such as wild lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum canadense) and sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis). Browse species such as red-osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera), beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta) and cherry shrubs (Prunus spp.) were scarce...