Tom Wessels, MA
Department of Environmental Studies
American Beech (Fagus grandifolia), a North American tree, has a natural range stretching from eastern Wisconsin and eastern Texas to Nova Scotia and Florida. The species, producing nuts which ripen and drop during autumn, is a valuable mast source to various fauna in its range, including the black bear (Ursus americana). Beech Bark Disease (BBD) can lead to significant mortality in American beech, and as such may impact black bear use of this species tree. This study in the southern Green Mountains, occurring in Vermont's Bennington and Windham counties during the summer and fall of 1997, was designed to examine a potential correlation between the degree of black bear use of beech and the severity of Beech Bark Disease.