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Go to:68. Undergrowth Project (Wildlife)

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Catalog of Long Term Research Conducted by the Northeastern Research Station

Catalog #67

Undergrowth and Small Mammal Response to Overstory Stocking Levels (Undergrowth Project - Vegetation)
1) To describe undergrowth response to overstory thinning and deer browsing. 
2) To describe small mammal habitat relationships.
expected to continue thru 1996
All plots are located in Franklin and Hampshire Counties MA where a Forest Service research permit is renewed annually on Quabbin Reservation. Land is part of Boston's municipal water supply managed by Metropolitan District Commission. Of the 20 stands, 12 stands are located on Prescott Peninsula inside a wildlife sanctuary and 8 stands are located in hunted area of Quabbin Reservation in New Salem, Shutesbury, Pelham and Belchertown compartments. Deer are 3 to 4 times more abundant in the sanctuary than outside of it. Land use history, forest management, and soils are similar inside and outside the sanctuary.
Elevation range 150 to 300 meters.
Location of the stands ranges between 43deg 30min 00 sec by 72deg 19min 45sec (UR), 42deg 22min 30sec. by 72deg 24 min 30 sec(LL) OR 4783500mN by 713500mN(UR), 4694700mN by 719800mE(LL).
20 white pine-northern red oak-red maple stands are grouped by 4 blocks of 5 stands. Each stand contains 60 paired circular 4.0 meters squared-size plots (30 unfenced and 30 fenced). Plots are located along transects at 20m intervals within each stand.
Undergrowth is sampled on 30 circular 4 meter squared plots (radius 1.13 m) within each stand during July-August 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1994. Plots were established from a random start and placed systematically along transects at 20 m intervals. Overstory density, d.b.h., basal area, and composition are estimated with 30 point-center plots/stand once during the study. Deer densities are estimated annually with line-transect techniques on the protected area, and indexed with pellet-group counts on the hunted area. Small mammals will be live-trapped in all stands during April through October each year.
Undergrowth plant structure: undergrowth=all herbaceous plants, shrubs, vines and Lycopodium, and total cover of trees and shrubs <2.5cm at d.b.h.

Species counts, litter depth, tallest herb, no. of herbaceous species and % cover, species and number of woody stems (>2.5cm d.b.h.) per size class, stand density and stand height, fruit production: 1984, 1988, 1991.

Oak regeneration (numbers of oak seedlings by height class): annually 1984-1988, 1991. 
Overstory: tree species, d.b.h., canopy height, bole and sawlog lengths: 1987, 1989, 1995-96. 
Wildlife dens and cavities tally: 1986, 1987. 
Plant species and numbers of fruits: each summer 1985, 1986, 1987. 
Habitat vegetation data collected at 10 mammal trapping stations in each stand: 1987, 1988.

Practices Ranges of each variable are visually checked line-by-line on hardcopies of every data set entered as a computer file. Temporary employees are always trained in the field by professionals.
Raw data are in ASCII (sys.dat) files in dBASE III. All cleaned raw data are on floppies and some on hard drive as permanent data files (pdf). Hardcopies of all raw data are kept in file cabinets. Analyses are generated in dBASE and sometimes SAS.
Studies of Ecosystem Processes
Model Application
each request is reviewed; partially, 1994
Brooks, R.T.; Healy, W.M. 1988. Response of small mammal communities to silvicultural treatments in eastern hardwood forests of WV. and MA. In: Szaro, R.C., et al., technical Coordinators. Management of amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals in North America. Gen. Tech. Rpt. RM-166. Broomall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 313-318.

DeGraaf, R.M.; Healy, W.M.; Brooks, R.T. 1991. Effects of thinning and edeer browsing on breeding birds in New England oak woodlands. For. Ecol. management 41: 179-191.

Healy, W.M.; Brooks, R.T.; DeGraaf, R.M. 1989. Cavity trees in sawtimber-size oak stands in central MA. N. J. Appl. For. 6(2): 61-65.

* Healy, W.M.; Brooks, R.T.; Lyons, P.J. 1987. Deer and forests on Boston's municipal watershed after 50 years as a wildlife sanctuary. In: Proceedings, Deer, forestry, and agriculture: interactions and strategies for management; 1987; Warren PA: Allegheny Soc. Am. For. 3-21.

Welsh, C.J.E.; Healy, W.M.; DeGraaf, R.M. 1992. Cavity-nesting bird abundance in thinning verses unthinned Massachusetts oak stands. N. J. Appl. For. 9(1): 6-9.

William Healy, USDA Forest Service, Holdsworth Hall, University of Massachusetts, P.O. Box 34230, Amherst MA 01003. (413) 545-0357 



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