Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Jones, C. Jeanne

Committee Member

Ezell, W. Andrew

Committee Member

Fogarty, H. Jarrod

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife and Fisheries


The Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) has undergone losses of bottomland hardwood forests due to agricultural conversion. Hardwood establishment on marginal croplands has been proposed to mitigate effects of deforestation and related loss of carbon-capture potential. However, a possible concern with reforestation is low seedling survival from mammalian herbivory. I surveyed two afforested fields in the MAV of northwest Mississippi to assess damage and mortality from four herbivores on nine species of hardwood seedlings (n = 868). Percentage survival of seedlings was 35%. Mortality of seedlings caused by herbivores was: hispid cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus; 6.45%), rabbit ((Sylvilagus spp.; 1.95%), pine vole (Microtus pinetorum; 2.99%), and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginiana; 0.69%). Of surviving seedlings (n = 316), 10.82% were damaged by cotton rats, pine vole (2.99%), rabbit (8.06%), and deer (7.02%). Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), water oak (Quercus nigra), and Nuttall oak (Quercus nuttallii) had greatest survival.



white-tailed deer||pine vole||cotton rat||herbivory||mammal||hardwood seedlings||carbon sequestration