Winter Browsing by Large Herbivores on Planted Deciduous Seedlings in Southern Sweden
Deciduous seedlings are valuable for the forest industry and, at the same time, often palatable for large herbivores. Therefore, browsing on seedlings of seven deciduous tree species and on Picea abies(L.) Karst., as a reference species, was tested in a field experiment with the species presented at feeding stations. Twenty stations, each with one seedling per species, were established in each of 15 clear-cuts in southern Sweden. The planting took place in October. Depending on species, between 16 and 85% of the seedlings were browsed after one winter. The descending order, based on number of browsed seedlings, was Quercus robur L . > Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.> Fagus silvatica L.> Tilia cordata Mill.> Prunus avium L.> Betula pendula Roth> Picea abies (L.) Karst. > Fraxinus excelsior L. On 83% (range 45-100%) of the browsed seedlings the leader was damaged. On average, browsing reduced seedling hight by 32% (range 12-47%). Within species, initially taller seedlings were more often selected than shorter ones.
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