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Bark stripping of hinoki cypress by sika deer in relation to snow cover and food availability on Mt Takahara, central Japan

Ueda, Hironori, Takatsuki, Seiki, Takahashi, Yasunori
Ecological research 2002 v.17 no.5 pp. 545-551
Cervus nippon, Chamaecyparis obtusa, bark, food availability, snow, snowpack, trees, Japan
Bark stripping of hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa (Sieb. et Zucc.) Endl.) by sika deer (Cervus nippon Temminck) was monitored for 4 years on approximately 300 trees at three sites on Mt Takahara, central Japan. We investigated the effects of snow cover and food availability on seasonal and yearly changes in bark stripping. Bark stripping occurred during snowy periods (January and February) when less food was available because of the snow cover. The most serious bark stripping was observed in 1996 when the snow was the deepest and food resources were the poorest among the 4 years of the study. In contrast, bark stripping did not occur in 1999 when the snow was thin and, consequently, more food was available. These results suggest that snow cover and food avail-ability influence the occurrence and intensity of bark stripping both seasonally and annually.