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Prescribed grazing for management of invasive vegetation in a hardwood forest understoryAuthor(s): Ronald A. Rathfon; Songlin Fei; Jason Tower; Kenneth Andries; Michael Neary
Source: In: Groninger, John W.; Holzmueller, Eric J.; Nielsen, Clayton K.; Dey, Daniel C., eds. Proceedings, 19th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2014 March 10-12; Carbondale, IL. General Technical Report NRS-P-142. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 220-232.
Publication Series: Paper (invited, offered, keynote)
Station: Northern Research Station
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DescriptionLand managers considering prescribed grazing (PG) face a lack of information on animal stocking rates, timing of grazing, and duration of grazing to achieve desired conditions in natural ecosystems under invasion stress from a variety of nonnative invasive plant (NNIP) species. In this study we tested PG treatments using goats for reducing NNIP brush species and measured impacts to native vegetation after 1 year. The hardwood forest understory was dominated by nonnative multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) and the native spicebush (Lindera benzoin). Treatments consisted of two levels of grazing intensity (16 and 48 goats per acre) and two levels of grazing frequency: a single late spring grazing and both late spring and a repeat early fall (October) grazing. All grazing treatments greatly reduced leaf cover of most species of ground layer vegetation at the time of grazing. One year later multiflora rose leaf cover was reduced by an average of 8 to 10 percent from pretreatment cover with no significant differences between grazing treatments. Spicebush cover was reduced by 12 to 16 percent. Although some herbaceous species increased and some decreased under PG treatments, herbaceous species diversity increased slightly overall. Herbaceous cover declined for high stocking rate PG treatments. Multiple years of prescribed grazing may be needed to substantially reduce NNIP cover.
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CitationRathfon, Ronald A.; Fei, Songlin; Tower, Jason; Andries, Kenneth; Neary, Michael. 2014. Prescribed grazing for management of invasive vegetation in a hardwood forest understory. In: Groninger, John W.; Holzmueller, Eric J.; Nielsen, Clayton K.; Dey, Daniel C., eds. Proceedings, 19th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2014 March 10-12; Carbondale, IL. General Technical Report NRS-P-142. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 220-232.
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