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Georgia Journal of Science

Abstract

Whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations of several islands along the Georgia coast have appeared to be in declining health for the past 10 years. Several explanations for this phenomenon have been proposed; however, several researchers have alluded to the over-population of the species. We calculated the carrying capacity of the Skidaway Island State Park (SISP), a portion of Skidaway Island located near the coastal City of Savannah. By determining the amount of biomass produced by several habitats located within the park, and knowing the hectares of these habitats, the total amount of biomass was calculated. Using the caloric requirements of the whitetail deer found at various regions of the continental United States, we determined the sustainable carrying capacity of a healthy deer population within the park. We calculated that approximately 11.5 deer can be annually sustained on the vegetative biomass produced by the Skidaway Island State Park (SISP).

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