Advisor

Demarais, Stephen

Committee Member

Ezell, Andrew

Committee Member

Wesley, Burger L., Jr.

Committee Member

Grado, Stephen

Date of Degree

5-1-2008

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Abstract

I evaluated effects of 5 intensive pine plantation establishment regimes during years 1 – 5 post-establishment on vegetation communities, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) growth, nutritional carrying capacity for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), habitat values for northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), and projected financial viability in the Lower Coastal Plain of Mississippi. Treatments were combinations of mechanical site preparation (MSP), chemical site preparation (CSP), and herbaceous weed control (HWC) designed to reflect the range of operational intensities on industrial forest lands in the southeastern U.S. Results should inform plantation management decisions throughout the region. Pine growth increased with greater treatment intensity. At age 5, trees in the most intensively managed treatment were 1.5 m taller than those in the least intensive treatment. Mechanical site preparation improved growth by alleviating soil physical problems. Growth and yield projections indicated that increased fiber yield may not justify investment in more intensive regimes; financial analysis favored the least expensive treatment, though all regimes produced potential internal rates of return > 9% when managed to financial maturity. Use of MSP with banded HWC yielded abundant low-quality deer forage sufficient for body maintenance; nutritional needs for lactating does were better served by CSP with banded HWC. Broadcast HWC reduced biomass of high-quality forbs. In this region of limited soil nutrients and abundant low-quality forages, the optimal combination of maintenance-level and lactation-level nutrition was provided by CSP or CSP and MSP combined with banded HWC. I evaluated vegetation communities for nesting, loafing, brood-rearing, and fall and winter food suitability for northern bobwhite. No treatment provided brood-rearing habitat due to combined lack of bare ground and forb coverage. Fall and winter feeding, nesting, and loafing cover were best produced by MSP and CSP combined with banded HWC. However, lack of brood-rearing cover may reduce or eliminate usable space in all treatments. Differences between vegetation communities were caused by use of CSP, which eliminated many residual woody and vine species, and by differences in broadcast versus banded HWC. Herbicide use decreased plant diversity and species richness, and impacted successional trajectory. Community differences persisted through year 5.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/16195

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