Winter use of upland conifer alternate strip cuts and clearcuts by moose in the Thunder Bay District / by Charles J. W. Todesco
Todesco, Charles J. W.
DisciplineForestry and the Forest Environment
SubjectClearcutting Ontario Thunder Bay (Ont. : District)
Moose Ontario Thunder Bay (Ont. : District)
Alternate strip cuts, clearcuts, habitat, snow
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Moose (Alces alces) utilization o£ five paired strip cut - clearcut areas was studied during the winters of 1983 - 84 and 1984 - 85. Winter aerial reconnaissance flight data were supplemented by snow condition observations and spring browse and pellet group data. Greater (P < 0.05) numbers of moose were located in the clearcuts than the strip cuts in the first winter, and approximately equal numbers of moose were observed in both the following winter (non significant). Clearcuts had significantly (P < 0.05) more track aggregates and area covered by tracks during both winters. Forage production (kg/ha) and browse stem densities were significantly (P < 0.05) higher in the clearcuts. No significant correlations occurred between browse production or browse availability and observed utilization levels in the strip cuts or clearcuts. In the strip cuts, moose preferred the open harvested strips and 94% of all moose observed in the strip cuts were cows with calves or single cows. Moose preferred the 30 m influence zone edge habitat in the clearcuts, and adult bulls were the most often observed moose in the clearcuts (38% of all moose sighted). Wolf tracks were observed in both types of timber harvest, ranging freely across the clearcuts and only on road systems or waterways in the strip cuts. Snow conditions in the strip cuts appear to inhibit wolf movements throughout these areas; however, they may preclude the use of strip cuts by moose in heavy snowfall winters. Alternate strip cuts provide suitable winter habitat for moose, particularly for the reproductive social groups. Clearcuts are not avoided by moose in the winter months, although seasonal utilization of individual habitats within the clearcuts does occur.