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Habitat-population density relationship for the white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus during the dry season in a Pacific Mexican tropical dry forest

Salvador Mandujano, Carlos A. Yañez-Arenas, Arturo González-Zamora and Alejandro Pérez-Arteaga
From the journal mammalia

Abstract

The habitat-population density relationship in the white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus was analyzed in a tropical dry forest of the Zicuirán-Infiernillo Biosphere Reserve in the Pacific region of Mexico. In 2008, pellet groups were sampled in strip-transects during the dry season to estimate population density in five locations. Habitat variables (physical, vegetation, and human) were obtained during field sampling and through the use of geographic information systems. Principal component analysis and stepwise multiple regression were used to analyze the habitat-density relationships. The mean population density of white-tailed deer for the region was 6.7 ind/km2; however, this varied significantly among sites (1.9–11.3 ind/km2). Higher densities were found in sites with lower human activity, irregular topography, dense understory cover, and well-developed tree strata. In contrast, sites with lower deer density presented high human activities such as livestock and crop production, which act to modify the tropical dry forest. We discuss the management and conservation implications.


Corresponding author: Salvador Mandujano, Red de Biología y Conservación de Vertebrados, Instituto de Ecología A. C., km 2.5 Camino Antiguo a Coatepec 351, Xalapa 91070, Veracruz, Mexico, e-mail:

This study was supported by the COECYT Michoacán, FOMIX, CONACYT, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Red de Biología y Conservación de Vertebrados del Instituto de Ecología A. C., and Conservación y Manejo Ambiental de la Costa de Michoacán A.C. Thanks go to L.A. Escobedo-Morales, R. Benedicto Zarco, J. Rivera Morales and A. Vázquez for their help during the field work. T. Perez helped us with logistic work. K. MacMillan and D. Medina revised the English transcript.

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Received: 2012-3-9
Accepted: 2013-1-25
Published Online: 2013-03-05
Published in Print: 2013-11-01

©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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