- Dunham, Stephen W.
University of Maine
Spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) inhabiting the mixed coniferous-deciduous forests of the northeastern United States are at the southern extent of their range. These mixed forests are known collectively as the Acadian forest and represent the transitional zone between the boreal forest to the north and the deciduous northern hardwoods forests to the south. Often assumed to be associated with mature, unharvested forest in this region, few studies have assessed habitat relationships of the species within areas dominated by commercial forest management. We investigated the influence of stand maturity, vertical and horizontal cover, and patchiness on the occupancy and abundance of male spruce grouse during the breeding season (Chapter 1); as well as within stand-scale habitat selection of spruce grouse hens during the brood-rearing season (Chapter 2) in the commercial forests of north central Maine. Our study was comprised of six townships that covered 612 km2 within the largest contiguous undeveloped forest in the United States.