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Seasonal Browsing of Douglas-Fir Seedlings by Sheep

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Controlled sheep grazing is being prescribed in the United States and elsewhere for the biological control of unwanted vegetation in regenerating conifer plantations. Efficient use of livestock to control brush and herbaceous species requires a thorough understanding of the potential for damage to the tree crop by the grazing animal. Sheep browsing and mechanical damage to Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) seedlings were evaluated in 1981 and 1982 in the Coast Range of Oregon. Sheep browsing of Douglas-fir was greatest in May, soon after bud break. Little browsing generally occurred during July and August. Percent of study trees with browsed terminal shoots decreased as seedling height increased above 90 cm. Less than 3% of the study trees were trampled or received other mechanical impacts by sheep. Our data suggest that Douglas-fir forests can be grazed by sheep with little or no damage to conifer regeneration, except in younger plantations in spring. Extra care must be exercised, during this season, when grazing plantations that have seedlings with terminal shoots less than 1.2 m in height. West. J. Appl. For. 4(3):73-76, July 1989.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Rangeland Resources, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331

Publication date: 1989-07-01

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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 Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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