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Vegetation Cover Affects Mammal Herbivory on Planted Oaks and Success of Reforesting Missouri River Bottomland Fields

Author(s):

Shannon Dugger
Joshua J. Millspaugh

Year:

2004

Publication type:

General Technical Report (GTR)

Primary Station(s):

Southern Research Station

Source:

Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–71. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 3-6

Description

We are evaluating oak regeneration methods at Plowboy Bend and Smoky Waters Conservation Areas in the Missouri River floodplain by planting oak seedlings in different cover types (redtop grass vs. natural vegetation) on four 40- acre fields. After 1 year, survival of planted oaks was high; however, herbivory from rabbits was intense depending on cover type. Damage to an individual oak seedling was substantially more severe in the natural vegetation fields than in the redtop grass fields. Most herbivory in the redtop grass fields occurred near the field edges, whereas herbivory occurred throughout the natural vegetation fields. In the winter of 2001-2002, we estimated rabbit densities at one rabbit per acre in the redtop grass field and three rabbits per acre in the natural vegetation field based on a mark-recapture study at Plowboy Bend. We attribute these differences in rabbit density, and severity and extent of damage to oak seedlings, to composition and structure of the ground flora (cover type), which may influence food availability and predation risk to rabbits.

Citation

Dugger, Shannon; Dey, Daniel C.; Millspaugh, Joshua J. 2004. Vegetation Cover Affects Mammal Herbivory on Planted Oaks and Success of Reforesting Missouri River Bottomland Fields. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–71. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 3-6

Publication Notes

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/6593