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Characteristics of buckbrush shrubs exposed to herbivores after seven years of protection

Posted date: March 25, 2009
Publication Year: 
2008
Authors: Chancellor, W. Walker; Huffman, David W.; Moore, Margaret M.
Publication Series: 
Proceedings (P)
Source: In: Olberding, Susan D., and Moore, Margaret M., tech. coords. Fort Valley Experimental Forest-A Century of Research 1908-2008. Conference Proceedings; August 7-9, 2008; Flagstaff, AZ. Proc. RMRS-P-55. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 132-134
Note: This article is part of a larger document.

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.

Citation

Chancellor, W. Walker; Huffman, David W.; Moore, Margaret M. 2008. Characteristics of buckbrush shrubs exposed to herbivores after seven years of protection. In: Olberding, Susan D., and Moore, Margaret M., tech. coords. Fort Valley Experimental Forest-A Century of Research 1908-2008. Conference Proceedings; August 7-9, 2008; Flagstaff, AZ. Proc. RMRS-P-55. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 132-134