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    Deer have been overabundant throughout much of Pennsylvania since at least the 1940’s. We compared plant communities in the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) on boulder tops and the forest floor to test the hypothesis that large boulders serve as refugia for plants threatened by deer herbivory. Five of the ten most common woody species (hemlock, Tsuga canadensis L., mountain maple, Acer spicatum Lam., red maple, A. rubrum L., striped maple, A. pensylvanicum L., and yellow birch, Betula alleghaniensis Britton) occurred at much higher densities on boulders than in randomly selected areas of the same size adjacent to these boulders on the soil surface.

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    Banta, Joshua A.; Royo, Alejandro A.; Kirschbaum, Chad; Carson, Walter P. 2005. Plant communities growing on boulders in the Allegheny National Forest: Evidence for boulders as refugia from deer and as a bioassay of overbrowsing


    beech, browsing, ferns, forest regeneration, herbivory, herbs, refugia, species richness, white-tailed deer

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