Responses of White-Tailed Deer and Northern Bobwhite Food Plants to a Gradient of Stand-Establishment Intensities in Pocosin Pine Plantations

  • Marsh G
  • Lane V
  • Miller K
 et al. 
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Abstract

Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) plantations are established using various
treatments to manage competing vegetation and increase pine production.
Although young pine plantations historically supported early
successional vegetation communities that contained abundant wildlife
forage, increasing intensity of stand-establishment treatments,
particularly herbicides, has caused concern regarding potential effects
on composition, availability, and quality of wildlife forage within
young pine plantations. Few long-term studies have described
relationships between intensity of site preparation and effects on
important forage plants for 2 economically and ecologically important
game species: white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and northern
bobwhite (Colinus virginianus). Therefore, we examined effects of 6
treatments of increasing stand-establishment intensity via combinations
of mechanical and chemical site preparation with herbaceous weed-control
on deer and bobwhite food plants from 1 year to 8 years after site
preparation in loblolly pine plantations (n = 6) within pocosins in the
Lower Coastal Plain of North Carolina, USA, during summers of 2002-2005,
2007-2009. Although woody and vine forage plants for deer and quail were
common on all treatments, chemical site preparation resulted in
long-term decreases (approx. 50{%} for 8 yr) in coverage of these plants.
Type of mechanical site preparation-spacing and herbaceous weed-control
had few effects on woody and herbaceous deer and quail food plants.
Dissimilar from research in other regions, reduction in woody cover did
not provide a concurrent increase in herbaceous food plants. Because of
relatively poor forage quality in pocosin habitats, vegetation
management practices may reduce deer and quail food quantity without
increasing quality. However, because abundance of low-quality forage is
high in pocosin habitats, localized forage reductions due to
site-preparation techniques may not affect overall carrying capacity in
these areas. (c) 2012 The Wildlife Society.

Author-supplied keywords

  • colinus virginianus
  • comprise
  • herbaceous weed-control
  • intensive forestry
  • north carolina
  • northern bobwhite
  • odocoileus virginianus
  • of the world
  • pine
  • pine plantation
  • pinus spp
  • pinus taeda
  • plantations of the southeastern
  • s wood fiber and
  • site preparation
  • states produce 15
  • united
  • white-tailed deer

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Authors

  • Graham M Marsh

  • Vanessa R Lane

  • Karl V Miller

  • Steven B Castleberry

  • Darren A Miller

  • T Bently Wigley

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