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Harvard Forest Data Archive


Ungulate-Forest Interactions in Partially Harvested Oak-Pine Stands in Central Massachusetts 2009

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  • Lead: Edward Faison, Stephen DeStefano, David Foster
  • Investigators: Justin Compton, David Wattles
  • Contact: Information Manager
  • Start date: 2009
  • End date: 2009
  • Status: completed
  • Location: Quabbin Reservoir, Ware River Watershed
  • Latitude: +42.296 to +42.541
  • Longitude: -72.393 to -71.982
  • Elevation: 140 to 380 meter
  • Taxa: Acer rubrum (red maple), Alces alces (moose), Betula spp. (birch), Odocoileus virginianus (white-tailed deer), Pinus strobus (white pine), Prunus spp. (cherry), Quercus spp. (oak)
  • Release date: 2012
  • Revisions:
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.201.7
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • EDI: data package
  • DataONE: data package
  • Related links:
  • Study type: short-term measurement
  • Research topic: conservation and management; regional studies
  • LTER core area: populations, disturbance
  • Keywords: browsing, deer, herbivory, moose, regeneration, timber harvest
  • Abstract:

    Ungulates are attracted to forest openings created by natural disturbance and timber harvesting due to the abundance of high quality browse in these openings. Despite the increased activity and browsing of ungulates in forest openings, the importance of browsing relative to abiotic factors such as light on forest regeneration is often unclear. In southern New England, medium-intensity harvesting is the predominant forest disturbance attracting white-tailed deer and moose. Oaks are the foundation hardwood taxon and predominant timber tree in the region and are in decline. Hence, the effects of ungulate browsing on oak forests are of great interest to ecologists, conservationists and forest and wildlife managers. We sampled tree regeneration and ungulate foraging activity across a range of canopy disturbances (35-90% basal area removed) in 34 stands of the Quabbin and Ware River Watershed Forests. Browsing was very high across the plots with about 80% of red maple and oak stems browsed. Taller stems were generally browsed more frequently than shorter stems. Oak regeneration in the smaller size classes was generally lower in stands with higher percent cover of hay-scented fern. The proportion of browsed red maples and oaks generally increased with increasing density of these taxa. Despite intensive herbivory, oaks appear to be regenerating well with increased light in these partially harvested stands.

  • Methods:

    Study Design

    Observational study with stratified random sampling by harvest type (thinnings and shelterwoods), composition (oak-pine) and by age (2-11 years). One 20x20 m study plot sampled in each stand. Plots located at least 1km apart.

    Sampling protocol

    Woody Seedlings. In each 20x20 m treatment, a 4x3 matrix of subplots was laid out in the center of the plot Each circular subplot was 2.25 m in diameter (48 m2 total sampling area per plot). In each subplot all woody stems (at least 5 cm DBH) were tallied, identified, assessed for sign of past browsing (torn or ragged stem), and given a height class (50-99cm, 1-1.5, 1.5-2, 2-2.5, 2.5-3, and greater than 3m). For sprout clumps, stems that shared a common base above the stump were characterized as a single stem, whereas stems that individually attached to the stump were counted as separate. Data from the subplots were summed across the plot.

    Trees and Stumps. All trees at least 5 cm DBH and all stumps at least 2.5 cm DBH within the 20x20m plots were measured for diameter and identified.

  • Use:

    This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (No Rights Reserved). Please keep the dataset creators informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset should include proper acknowledgement.

  • Citation:

    Faison E, DeStefano S, Foster D. 2012. Ungulate-Forest Interactions in Partially Harvested Oak-Pine Stands in Central Massachusetts 2009. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF201 (v.7). Environmental Data Initiative:

Detailed Metadata

hf201-01: site conditions

  1. unique plot name
  2. year.harvested: year that logging operation was completed in stand where plot was located
  3. slope: slope in degrees of hill on which plot is located (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  4. aspect: direction in which slope of hill is facing (unit: degree / missing value: NA)

hf201-02: woody seedlings

  1. unique plot name
  2. species: tree species or genus name
  3. height: height category of seedlings in meters
    • 1: 0.50-0.99m
    • 2: 1-1.49m
    • 3: 1.5-1.99m
    • 4: 2-2.49m
    • 5: 2.5-2.99m
    • 6: greater than 3m
  4. browsed: stem browsed
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes

hf201-03: stumps

  1. unique plot name
  2. species: tree species or genus name
  3. diameter: stump diameter (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)

hf201-04: overstory trees

  1. site: unique plot name
  2. species: tree species or genus name
  3. dbh: diameter at breast height (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  4. bark.stripped: presence of bark stripping by moose
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  5. stripping.intensity: stripping intensity
    • NA: no stripping
    • less than 2/3: bark removed from less than 2/3 of circumference
    • greater than 2/3: bark removed from greater than 2/3 of circumference