Jackrabbit densities on fair and good condition Chihuahuan desert range.

Author: 
Daniel, A.
Holechek, J.
Valdez, R.
Tembo, A.
Saiwana, L.
Fusco, M.
Cardenas, M.
Publisher: 
Rangeland Ecology & Management / Journal of Range Management Archives
Publication Year: 
1993
Description: 
This study was conducted on Chihuahuan desert range near Las Cruces, in southcentral New Mexico, to determine the relationship of blacktailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) densities to good (GC) and fair (FC) range condition. The Soil Conservation Service procedure was used to classify ecological range condition. Line transect procedures were used to estimate jackrabbit populations from July 1988 to December 1990. Concurrently vegetation cover and mean plant height were determined with the line intercept procedure. Jackrabbit densities on the fair condition range were higher (P < 0.10) than those on the good condition range. This difference is attributed to the fair condition range containing more protective cover and preferred forage than good condition range. Jackrabbit abundance showed no season (P < 0.10) or year differences (P < 0.10). Jackrabbits preferred grass-shrub mosaic habitats more than shrubland and grassland habitats. The need for diverse food sources and protective cover were apparently major determinants of habitat selection by jackrabbits. The good condition range contained greater (P < 0.10) grass cover and less (P < 0.10) shrub cover than the fair condition range. Our results indicated that maintaining Chihuahuan desert ranges in good to excellent condition is the best means of achieving lower abundance of jackrabbit populations.
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
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