Category: Ecological Research
Title: Characteristics of Buckbrush Shrubs Exposed to Herbivores after Seven Years of Protection
Author: * Chancellor, W.W., * Huffman, D.W., Moore, M.M.
Subject: Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), Buckbrush (Ceanothus fendleri), Vegetation studies, Fort Valley Experiment Station
Abstract: In dense ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Laws.) forests of northern Arizona, forage limitations may lead to severe herbivory by large ungulates on certain plant species. In 1999, we fenced 76 buckbrush (Ceanothus fendleri Gray) shrubs to protect them from herbivores and study growth and reproduction in response to forest restoration treatments implemented on the Fort Valley Experimental Forest. After seven years, we removed fences from around half the plants and examined herbivore impacts on vegetative characteristics. In spring, and again in fall, we measured stem heights and took photographs of exposed shrubs and protected controls. In fall, we also collected stems to analyze size, biomass, and leaf area. Plants exposed to herbivores had significantly less leaf area and total leaf weight than protected control plants. Stem length, diameter, and weight were statistically similar between exposed and control groups. Results from this study suggest that temporary protection from herbivores during the early stages of forest restoration may enhance rates of development and persistence of native plants such as buckbrush.
Source: USDA Forest Service Research Notes
Publisher: USDA Forest Service, http://www.fs.fed.us/