- Harrison. Daniel
University of Maine
We evaluated the effectiveness of zoning to protect wintering habitat for white-tailed deer (Odocoileousvirginianus) across commercially managed forestlands in northern Maine. Prior to our study, approximately 190,000 acres (2-3% of land area) of deer wintering areas (DWAs) across 981 management units had been formally protected via zoning by Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC). Our primary goal was to evaluate the effectiveness of those protections by evaluating harvest history and habitat change within zoned DWAs from 1975 –2007 and by quantifying the extent of change in extent and fragmentation of mature conifer forest habitat within a 1.25 mile radius buffer around zoned DWAs by applying a time-series of satellite imagery across a 4.1 million acres study area. We also evaluated the potential for expanded future zoning of remnant large patches of mature conifer forest. Thus, we quantified potential costs in terms of altered land value and value of wood potentially affected by increasing zoning to ~10% of the landscape, as has been proposed by Maine’s wildlife management agency. Finally, we evaluated the value of zoned DWAs as sites for conservation of a broader array of forest vertebrate biodiversity.