Date of Award
Master of Science
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
Ralph W. Dimmick
Michael R. Pelton, Boyd Dearden
This thesis represents the latter two years of a four year survey of wildlife management research on two distinct areas in East Tennessee: pine plantations and farm lands. Wildlife food plots on forest lands were established initially in the spring of 1972. Initial establishment included the planting of soybeans, kobe lespedeza, Korean lespedeza, and autumn olive. Since the initial establishment in 1972, only soybeans have required annual replanting. On farm lands, soybeans, browntop millet, and German millet were planted annually in food plots. On the pine plantation, the average yearly cost per hectare treated was $0.36 ($0.88 per acre) for four years. On farms the prorated cost per hectare treated was $0.32 ($0.79 per acre) in 1974. During the four years of this study bobwhite quail densities on the Experimental food plot area of the pine plantation were higher than Control areas. The presence of food plots was assumed to be responsible for differences in population densities since this was the only habitat manipulation not common to all study areas. Populations of mourning doves and songbirds were influenced more by vegetational succession than food plots. A statistical increase in the number of individual birds observed per station occurred from 1974 to 1975. Cottontail rabbits and small mammals were found to be slightly influenced by food plots. However, even these species demonstrated a greater response to successional changes than to food plots. This conclusion is based on the fact that differences between years were greater than differences between areas. Quail population on farm lands increased in response to food plot establishment and decreased in response to food plot removal. Populations of mourning doves, cottontail rabbits, and songbirds were influenced more by other land management practices on the farm than by food plots. Populations of small mammals were consistently higher in food plots than in surrounding areas. The cost of quail population increases on the Spring City Experimental area during the fall of 1973 and 1974 based on planting costs for these two years was $2.39 per bird. Prorated ten year costs for quail produced on the Morristown Control farm were $15.73 per bird.
Burt, Daniel Keith, "An evaluation of food plots as a management tool for wildlife on farms and forest lands in East Tennessee. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1976.