Large Herbivore Browsing on Conifer Seedlings Related to Seedling Morphology
Large herbivore browsing on conifer seedlings was tested in a field experiment based on the presentation of different seedling types at feeding stations. Altogether 150 feeding stations, each with six different seedling types, were established in ordinary clear-cuts in east-central Sweden. The seedling types used were three each of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.), 1-year-old and 2-year-old containerized seedlings, and 2-year-old bare-rooted seedlings. The planting took place in autumn. After one winter, browsing of the various seedling types was recorded. Number of browsed seedlings, leader browsing, and bite diameter differed between seedling types. Results showed that pine was more browsed than spruce, 2-year-old seedlings more browsed than 1-year-old seedlings, and containerized seedlings more browsed than bare-rooted seedlings. Morphological characteristics varied between the six seedling types. Few significant correlations between morphology and browsing were found, although the number of browsed seedlings and mean bite diameter were positively correlated with apical stem diameter.