Ungulate herbivory on buckbrush in an Arizona ponderosa pine forest.

Author: 
Huffman, D.W.
Moore, M.M.
Publisher: 
Rangeland Ecology & Management / Journal of Range Management Archives
Publication Year: 
2003
Description: 
Monitoring processes that affect plant population dynamics and determine community structure is central in forest restoration ecology. To study effects of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and elk (Cervus elaphus) on buckbrush (Ceanothus fendleri Gray), we built exclosures around 90 plant-centered plots in 3 ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Laws.) forest restoration management units and compared vegetative and flowering characteristics with unprotected plots for 2 years. On unprotected plots, 69% of the current-year branches were browsed during the first year and 44% were browsed the second year. There was no difference in number of aerial stems or current-year branches in the first year, yet stems on protected plots were longer (24.1 cm; P < 0.01) and retained more than 4 times the current-year biomass (1.4 g stem-1; P < 0.01) than those on unprotected plots (12.9 cm and 0.3 g stem-1, respectively). Stem number, length and diameter, number of current-year branches, and current-year biomass on protected plots were all greater (P < 0.01) than on unprotected plots in the second year. Stems on protected plots had significantly higher (P < 0.01) length-diameter ratios and had fewer current-year branches per unit length (P < 0.05) than unprotected stems. Flowering stems were found on significantly (P < 0.05) more protected plots (55%) than unprotected plots (8%) in the second year. Effects of ungulate herbivores on buckbrush size, stem recruitment, morphology, and flowering represent important constraints to early understory development and restoration in this Southwest ponderosa pine forest.DOI:10.2458/azu_jrm_v56i4_huffman
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
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Rangeland Ecology & Management (formerly the Journal of Range Management) serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of facts, ideas, and philosophies pertaining to the study, management, ecology, and use of rangelands and their resources. The journal is peer-reviewed and provides international exchange of scholarly research and information among persons interested in rangelands. The Global Rangelands collection includes REM content up to 5 years from the current year. More recent content is available by subscription from BioOne and the Society for Range Management, and may be available at your local university library.
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