Strickland, Bronson K.
Miller, Darren A.
Date of Degree
Graduate Thesis - Open Access
Interest in renewable energy and governmental mandates has motivated land managers to consider cellulosic feedstocks for bioenergy. I investigated plant community response to a system including switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) as a feedstock intercropped with loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). I estimated plant species evenness, richness, and diversity and biomass production, with emphasis on white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) forages. I detected 225 species in 2,220 1-m2 quadrats, and 7,495 biomass samples (96.4 kg dry weight) from 960 quadrats. Intercropping reduced plant species diversity, total non-pine tree biomass, and biomass of deer forages during switchgrass establishment. These effects were no longer apparent at treatment level two years after switchgrass establishment, except that deer browse and total deer forage biomass remained less in intercropped interbeds. Intercropping in managed pines may temporarily effect plant communities but further studies are needed to examine longer term effects and to quantify effects on nutritional carrying capacity for deer.
Wheat, Bradley Robert, "Effects of Intercropping Switchgrass in Managed Pine Stands on Plant Communities and White-Tailed Deer Forage Production" (2015). Theses and Dissertations MSU. 1760.