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Abstract

Fort A.P. Hill (APH) is a 30,329 ha military training installation (U.S. Army) located in the upper Coastal Plain of Caroline County, Virginia. It was formed in 1941 and named in honor of Civil War Confederate Lt. General Ambrose Powell Hill. The current landscape includes a mosaic of habitats that range from old fields to hardwood forests. Forty species of mammals are known to exist on or near the installation. These include one marsupial, five insectivores, 9 chiropterans, one lagomorph, 12 rodents, 10 carnivores, and one cervid. We have studied many of the species on APH since 1997. In this paper we describe the physical environment of the area and 7 important habitats used by mammals. We also summarize the ecology and natural history of each species and provide statistical summaries of original measurements from mammals caught on the installation. The results of several recent studies on APH allow us to describe habitat affiliations and relative abundance of most of the mammals native to the mid-Atlantic region. Old fields and clearcuts support a total of 20 species, including several found predominately in this habitat. Pine stands and pine plantations support the fewest number of mammal species (17) of any habitat on the installation. Mixed pine and hardwood forests, hardwood forests, and riparian forests support the largest number of species (29-36). With the possible exception of pine plantations, the habitat mosaic found on APH provides abundant resources for mammal communities. We also include an evaluation of age and health attributes of the deer population and describe the hunting program on the base. Number of deer harvested annually 1985-2000 varied from 460 to 1765. Management activities since 1996 when the deer population exceeded carrying capacity have improved herd health. Because much of Caroline County and eastern Virginia is in extensive agriculture and the remaining hardwood forests are being clearcut, APH is becoming a valuable habitat island for the mammalian fauna of the upper Coastal Plain of Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region.

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