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    Description

    We examined the effects of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) browsing and canopy opening size on relative abundance and diversity of woody and herbaceous regeneration in various sized forest openings in a southern, bottomland hardwood forest over three growing seasons (1995-1997). We created 36 canopy openings (gaps), ranging from 7 to 40m in radius, by group selection timber harvest in December 1994. Fenced exclosures were constructed in the center of each gap and vegetation was sampled monthly from April to September. Plant species richness, diversity, evenness, relative abundance, and a browsing index were calculated for each gap size and for each exclosure type. Herbaceous richness, diversity, or evenness did not differ among exclosure types in any year of the study. Browsing index was higher in the controls in 1996 and 1997. Browsing index for woody species was highest in the controls in 1995 and 1997. Relative abundance of herbaceous species was highest in the 29 m gap size. in 1997. Richness and diversity of woody species were lowest in the 29m gap sire in 1995 and 1996. Overall browsing rates on both woody and herbaceous vegetation were low throughout all the 3 years of the study. Low browsing rates reflect seasonal changes in habitat use by deer. Because of the low rates of browsing, vegetative differences among exclosure treatments and gap sizes likely are not attributable to deer herbivory. Other factors, such as soil disturbance, may have influenced the initial vegetative response more than herbivory or gap size.

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    Citation

    Castleberry, Steven B.; Ford, W. Mark; Miller, Carl V.; Smith, Winston P. 2000. Influences of Herbivory and Canopy Opening Size on Forest Regeneration in a Southern Bottomland Hardwood Forest. Forest Ecology and Management 131 (2000) 57-64

    Keywords

    White-tailed deer, Herbivory, Croup selection, Bottomland hardwoods, Regeneration, South Carolina

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/2082