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1 April 2006 BUSHY-TAILED WOODRAT ABUNDANCE IN DRY FORESTS OF EASTERN WASHINGTON
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Abstract

We studied bushy-tailed woodrats (Neotoma cinerea occidentalis) in the eastern Washington Cascade Range to estimate their density and survival in 3 typical dry forest cover types. We predicted woodrat density to be high, moderate, and low in mature mixed-conifer forests, young mixed-conifer forests, and open ponderosa pine forests, respectively. We livetrapped on 8 × 8 grids (280 m) over an 8-day period each autumn for 4 years to obtain Huggins mark–recapture estimates of woodrat density. We captured woodrats 617 times and marked 193 individual woodrats in 12 sample stands during 42,165 trap nights. The sex ratio of captures was 62% female and 38% male. Adults made up 79% of captures. Woodrat density averaged 0.49 animals/ha among all cover types and years; woodrat density did not differ among types. Regardless of cover type, stands fell into 4 woodrat-density groups, with densities ranging from 0.13 to 0.93 woodrats/ha. Classification tree analysis revealed that woodrat-density groups could be predicted well (proportional reduction in error = 0.73 to 0.89) by the type and amount of cover provided by large snags, mistletoe brooms, and soft downed logs. Over the 4-year period, woodrat density ranged from 0.28 animals/ha to 0.87 animals/ha, increasing each year at a rate of λ = 1.8 consistently among cover types. A moderate (r = 0.55) density-dependent response in per capita rate of increase was detected. The apparent annual survival rate was a low 0.14. Management to reduce woody fuels and to restore low-intensity high-frequency fire regimes in ponderosa pine and dry Douglas-fir forest likely will reduce bushy-tailed woodrat populations unless prescriptions can mitigate the loss of snag, mistletoe, and downed log cover.

John F. Lehmkuhl, Keith D. Kistler, and James S. Begley "BUSHY-TAILED WOODRAT ABUNDANCE IN DRY FORESTS OF EASTERN WASHINGTON," Journal of Mammalogy 87(2), 371-379, (1 April 2006). https://doi.org/10.1644/05-MAMM-A-053R1.1
Accepted: 1 August 2005; Published: 1 April 2006
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