Title page for ETD etd-07012011-102908

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Grace, Joshua Lee
Author's Email Address jlgrace08@gmail.com
URN etd-07012011-102908
Title Effects of Row Spacing and Debris Distribution on Small Mammal and Vegetation Communities in Newly Established Loblolly Pine Plantations, Louisiana
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Renewable Natural Resources
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Chamberlain , Michael J. Committee Chair
Miller, Darren A. Committee Member
Stouffer, Philip C. Committee Member
  • white-tailed deer
  • silviculture
  • pine plantations
  • loblolly-pine
  • forage
  • succession
  • small mammals
  • site preparation
Date of Defense 2011-06-27
Availability unrestricted
Commercial pine (Pinus spp.) forests in the southeastern United States are key to providing fiber for global wood supply needs. Concern has arisen over possible effects of intensive forest management techniques, including row spacing and distribution of woody debris after logging, on plant and wildlife communities. Therefore, we quantified response of plant and small mammal communities in replanted loblolly pine (P. taeda) stands to mechanical site preparation including 2 levels of row spacing and 2 methods of distributing woody debris following harvest in north and southeastern Louisiana, USA. Sites (n=16) were prepared with a combination of row spacing between planting beds (4.3 m and 6.1 m) and distribution of logging debris (piled and scattered). We examined vegetation using various sampling methods, and used mark-recapture techniques to assess small mammal communities in each of 4 replicate stands for 4 years post-treatment. Site preparation involving wider row spacing generally did not affect vegetation structure and composition; or relative abundance and diversity of small mammals. Piling debris in specific locales throughout the stand reduced non-pine woody vegetation, but did not affect small mammal communities. However, the increased woody growth associated with scattering debris throughout the stand resulted in higher lactation-level carrying capacity estimates for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus); due to importance of semi-woody browse to deer in Louisiana. We suggest that row spacing may not be a significant factor when planning implementation of site preparation techniques relative to small mammals and deer browse production. We suspect further research examining later stages of succession and stand development may provide further insight into the tradeoffs between increased woody growth associated with scattering debris and the potential benefits that may result from reducing woody growth by piling debris into certain locales throughout the stand.
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