Factors Influencing the Abundance of Berry Plants for Black Bears, Ursus americanus, in Quebec

Rémi Hébert, Claude Samson, Jean Huot

Abstract


Berries generally represent the primary food source used by Black Bears (Ursus americanus) during summer and sometimes fall. Our study attempted to identify factors influencing the abundance of these critical resources for Black Bears in Quebec. We used data from the ecological inventories of the Ministère de l’Environnement du Québec. Three different study areas were selected, including the Papineau-Labelle Wildlife Reserve (326 sample plots; 24 species), the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve (679 sample plots; 16 species) and the Côte-Nord administrative region (1944 sample plots; 30 species). Each site represented a different bioclimatic domain. Characteristics of the dominant vegetation (density and height), soil texture, and drainage classes (vertical or oblique) were used as analysis factors. In general, height and density of the dominant vegetation had a significant effect on the abundance of berry plants. Berry plants were more abundant in plots where dominant vegetation height and density were low. Soil texture had little effect on the abundance of berry plants, and the influence of drainage varied depending on the region. This study allowed us to determine the optimal sites of berry resources for Black Bears.

Keywords


Black Bear; Ursus americanus; berries; oblique drainage; seepage; soil texture; vegetation density; vegetation height; vertical drainage; wildlife reserve; Quebec

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22621/cfn.v122i3.601



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