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1 March 2006 Quantifying Densities of Snowshoe Hares in Maine Using Pellet Plots
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Abstract

Population densities are costly and logistically infeasible to measure directly across the broad geographic ranges of many wildlife species. For snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus), a keystone species in northern boreal forest, indirect approaches for estimating population densities based on fecal pellet densities have been developed for boreal forest in northwestern Canada and in conifer-dominated montane forest in Idaho. Previous authors cautioned against applying these estimates across the geographic range of hares without further testing, but no published relationships for estimating densities from pellet counts are available for the mixed conifer–deciduous forests of the southeastern portion of the hare's range in North America. Thus, we estimated pellet and hare densities in 12 forested stands, 4 sampled twice during 1981–1983 and 8 sampled once during 2000–2002. Mark–recapture estimated densities of snowshoe hares from eastern and western Maine during 1981–1983 were linearly related to pellet densities to 15,000 pellets/ha/month (1.5 hares/ha) (Adj. r2 = 0.87, n = 8, P < 0.001) and accurately predicted densities of hares (x̄ = 7 % greater) estimates than actually observed at higher pellet densities sampled in northern Maine during 2000–2002.

JESSICA A. HOMYACK, Daniel J. Harrison, JOHN A. LITVAITIS, and WILLIAM B. KROHN "Quantifying Densities of Snowshoe Hares in Maine Using Pellet Plots," Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(1), 74-80, (1 March 2006). https://doi.org/10.2193/0091-7648(2006)34[74:QDOSHI]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 March 2006
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