Effects of Thinning Intensity, Prescribed Fire, and Herbicide on Wildlife Habitat in Mid-rotation Loblolly Pine Stands
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Forestry and Wildlife Science
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Pine (Pinus spp.) plantations cover 16.8 MM ha across the southeastern United States. Many forest owners are interested in managing their forests for multiple objectives, including timber production and wildlife habitat for both game (e.g., white-tailed deer [Odocoileus virginianus]) and nongame species. Commercial thinning and application of herbicide or prescribed fire at mid-rotation can help landowners meet these objectives. However, information is lacking on thinning prescriptions that reduce residual basal area beyond industry standards, as well as the effects of common herbicide tank mixtures (i.e., imazapyr + metsulfuron methyl) on habitat quality for open forest specialists and deer. Therefore, we initiated an operational-scale, manipulative, experiment to quantify the effects of thinning to 9, 14, and 18 m2 ha-1, with and without prescribed fire and herbicide, on habitat quality for open forest specialists and nutritional carrying capacity (deer days/ha) for deer in mid-rotation loblolly pine stands.