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Avian Community Response to Midrotation Herbicide Release and Prescribed Burning in Conservation Reserve Program Plantations

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Former agricultural lands converted to pine (Pinus spp.) plantations in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) have potential to provide early successional (ES) habitat for many regionally declining pine/grassland and shrub-successional bird species if actively managed with appropriate disturbance regimes. One such regime is use of the selective herbicide Imazapyr (Arsenal Applicators Concentrate) and prescribed burning, which is permitted on CRP lands and cost share payments are available. This study quantified combined effects of Imazapyr and prescribed fire on the breeding season avian community characteristics and pine volume growth in thinned, midrotation afforested loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantations in Mississippi. Herbicide treatments were applied in fall of 2002 and winter burns were conducted during winter and early spring of 2002–2003. ES bird species richness was significantly greater in the treated plots compared with controls for both 2003 and 2004. Ten individual species exhibited treatment effects. These responses by ES bird species indicate that midrotation CRP plantations can provide needed ES habitat if treated with appropriate disturbance regimes.
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Keywords: Mississippi; avian communities; disturbance-dependent communities; midrotation treatment; quality vegetative management; species decline

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-08-01

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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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