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Forage quantity and quality

Biological Science Report 2002-0001- 5
By: , and 
Edited by: David C. DouglasPatricia E. Reynolds, and E.B. Rhode

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Abstract

The Porcupine caribou herd has traditionally used the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, for calving. Availability of nutritious forage has been hypothesized as one of the reasons the Porcupine caribou herd migrates hundreds of kilometers to reach the coastal plain for calving (Kuropat and Bryant 1980, Russell et al. 1993).

Forage quantity and quality and the chronology of snowmelt (which determines availability and phenological stages of forage) have been suggested as important habitat attributes that lead calving caribou to select one area over another (Lent 1980, White and Trudell 1980, Eastland et al. 1989). A major question when considering the impact of petroleum development is whether potential displacement of the caribou from the 1002 Area to alternate calving habitat will limit access to high quantity and quality forage.

Our study had the following objectives: 1) quantify snowmelt patterns by area; 2) quantify relationships among phenology, biomass, and nutrient content of principal forage species by vegetation type; and 3) determine if traditional concentrated calving areas differ from adjacent areas with lower calving densities in terms of vegetation characteristics.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title Forage quantity and quality
Series title Biological Science Report
Series number 2002-0001
Chapter 5
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 5 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype Federal Government Series
Larger Work Title Arctic Refuge coastal plain terrestrial wildlife research summaries (Biological Science Report USGS/BRD/BSR-2002-0001)
First page 46
Last page 50
Country Canada, United States
State Alaska, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory
Other Geospatial Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge