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Wildlife Habitat and Herbicides: An Evaluation of a Widely Applied Tank Mix

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Acreage in pine (Pinus spp.) plantations in the southeastern United States is projected to increase by 25 million acres throughout the next 4 decades. Management regimes relying on herbicides to reduce herbaceous competition, including tank mixes formulated for broad-spectrum control, may have implications for wildlife habitat. We examined effects of eight different tank mixes of Arsenal AC and/or Oust on wildlife habitat. We applied herbicides in early Apr. the first growing season (1991) at two locations (each a complete randomized block design) planted to loblolly pine (P. taeda) in the Virginia Piedmont. In the year of application, all vegetative measures except species diversity differed (P < 0.05) at both locations with results being most pronounced at higher herbicide rates. At one location (Bedford), species diversity was not significantly different than the control (P = 0.30) and forage/cover ratio was improved versus the control, indicating a releasing effect may have been operative. In year 2 (1992), there was no difference (P > 0.05) in percent forage cover for either location, and with only one exception, responses of treatment levels did not differ from the control. We observed a great deal of variability among sites for various measures, underscoring variability and site-specific responses to herbicide treatments.

Keywords: Early successional; forest chemicals; herbaceous vegetation; imazapyr; pine management; sulfometuron methyl

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: MeadWestvaco Corporation, Central Region, Rupert, WV 25984; and 2: MeadWestvaco Corporation, Forestry Division, Phenix City, AL 36868.

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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