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Herbivory and Fire Influence White Oak (Quercus alba L.) Seedling Vigor

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Abstract:

We manipulated arthropod and mammalian herbivory levels on white oak seedlings using a combination of insecticide applications and fencing and employed a split-split-plot design to assess the impact of single- and multiple-year burns on seedling growth over a 2 yr period. Herbivory levels increased over time on all sites, but there was no significant difference in herbivore pressure on seedlings in single-year burned, multiple-year burned, and nonburned plots. Insecticide-treated seedlings suffered less herbivore pressure than did noninsecticide treated seedlings, and mammalian herbivory was significantly reduced by the presence of a fence. Seedling height growth, shoot elongation, diameter growth, and specific leaf mass were greatest on once-burned sites, intermediate on twice-burned sites, and least on nonburned sites. Bud expansion was the only seedling performance parameter unaffected by burn treatment. Arthropod feeding was the greater component of overall herbivory, but this herbivory did not impede seedling growth. Seedling height growth and shoot elongation were more closely linked to mammalian herbivory. These results suggest that the observed herbivory may play a negligible role, and prescribed fire may be a beneficial component of a management program designed to enhance oak regeneration. FOR. SCI. 47(3):331–337.

Keywords: Oak regeneration; arthropod herbivory; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; mammalian herbivory; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Research Assistant Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky, S225 Ag. Science–North, Lexington, KY, 40546-0091

Publication date: August 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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