Date of Award

12-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Wildlife and Fisheries Biology

Advisor

Guynn, Jr., David C

Committee Member

Yarrow , Greg K

Committee Member

Lanham , Joseph D

Committee Member

Still, Jr. , Hugh R

Abstract

Biodiversity conservation is currently an important focus for forest and wildlife management. The overall objective of this study was to compare the diversity of invertebrates and vegetation in white-tailed deer food plots and natural forage areas for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) as indicators of biodiversity. Invertebrates were chosen as the bio-indicator due to their magnitude of contribution to the biodiversity in an ecosystem (Anderson, et al., 2004), ease of capture, and sensitivity to changes in vegetative structure and quality (Hartley, et al., 2007). This study utilized five thinned and burned forested pine sites, five perennial cool-season food plots, and five warm-season food plots located in the northern Piedmont region of South Carolina on the Clemson University Experimental Forest. Invertebrates and vegetation were sampled at each site in the spring and summer of 2007 and compared using ANOVA. Shannon Diversity Index and Shannon Evenness measures were used to quantify diversity of both vegetation and invertebrates. Pine sites had a higher percentage of bare ground than food plots and a more even distribution of invertebrates. Pine sites also had a higher diversity of invertebrate Orders than the cool-season sites. Based on preliminary results, supplemental plantings for white-tailed deer in this study may not significantly affect the biodiversity in the Clemson University Experimental Forest.

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