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Harvard Forest Data Archive

HF242

Ungulate Browsing and Foundation Tree Regeneration in Central New England 2010

Related Publications

Data

Overview

  • Lead: Edward Faison, Stephen DeStefano, David Foster
  • Investigators:
  • Contact: Edward Faison
  • Start date: 2010
  • End date: 2010
  • Status: completed
  • Location: Central New England
  • Latitude: +41.950 to +42.888
  • Longitude: -73.06 to -71.35
  • Elevation: 60 to 556 meter
  • Taxa: Alces alces (moose), Odocoileus virginianus (white-tailed deer), Quercus spp. (oak), Tsuga canadensis (hemlock)
  • Release date: 2015
  • Revisions:
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.242.2
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • Related links:
  • Study type: short-term measurement
  • Research topic: conservation and management; physiological ecology, population dynamics and species interactions; regional studies
  • LTER core area: populations
  • Keywords: browsing, deer, herbivory, moose, regeneration, seedlings
  • Abstract:

    Large herbivores are important forest disturbances capable of altering community composition, biodiversity, tree density, successional pathways, and nutrient cycling. The extent to which browsers exert important impacts on forests, however, depends on the intensity and duration of browsing, the palatability and tolerance of the vegetation, available resources to plants, and the scale at which these factors are being investigated. Few studies have examined ungulate impacts at the landscape scale.

    Since the late-1980s moose have recolonized their pre-historical range in southern New England, joined white-tailed deer to create a potentially important new driver of forest dynamics in the region. Few, if any, studies have looked at combined deer and moose impacts on temperate forests in eastern North America. In the summer of 2010, we initiated a landscape-scale observational study on ungulate habitat use and browsing on foundation tree species (Quercus spp. and Tsuga canadensis) in unlogged forests. Seventy-two forest plots were sampled across several ecoregions in central and western Massachusetts, southern Vermont and New Hampshire and northern Connecticut. Tree seedlings, overstory characteristics, browsing, pellet piles, and shrub densities were sampled; and site attributes such as mean annual temperature and forest fragmentation were examined.

  • Methods:

    Study Design

    A 20 x 20 meter plot was established at each site. All trees at least 2.5 cm DBH were measured and recorded. Each tree stem was assessed for bark stripping, antler scrapes; small stems broken and browsed by moose were noted. A 5 x 5 grid of 25 (4m2) subplots was established in the center of each 20 x 20 m plot. All oak and hemlock seedlings at least 30 cm less than 2.5 cm DBH were tallied, and stems were assigned to the following height classes: 30-99cm; 1-2m; 2-3m, and greater than 3m. Each stem was assessed for the presence/absence of past ungulate browsing (a torn, ragged stem characteristic of deer and moose herbivory). In addition, red maple saplings 30 cm – 3m in height were assessed for past browsing and used as a standardized index of browsing pressure at each site. A maximum of 15 red maple stems were assessed at each site. Shrubs at least 1 m in height were tallied and identified at each of the 25 m subplots. The two most abundant herb species across the 20 x 20 m area were noted. Deer and moose pellet groups were sampled across the entire 20 x 20 m plot using 10, 2 x 20 m strip plots.

  • Use:

    This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons license CC BY (Attribution). Please keep the designated contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement.

  • Citation:

    Faison E, DeStefano S, Foster D. 2015. Ungulate Browsing and Foundation Tree Regeneration in Central New England 2010. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF242.

Detailed Metadata

hf242-01: plots

  1. plot.name: plot name
  2. date.sampled: date that plot was sampled
  3. latitude: latitudinal coordinates of plot location (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  4. longitude: longitudinal coordinates of plot location (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  5. aspect: longitudinal coordinates of plot location (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  6. slope: incline of the plot in degrees (unit: degree / missing value: NA)

hf242-02: trees

  1. plot.name: plot name
  2. species: tree species or genus name
  3. dbh: diameter at breast height (≥2.5 cm) (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)
  4. alive: whether stem was alive or dead
    • 0: dead
    • 1: alive
  5. antler.scrape: stem with bark rubbed off by rubbing of antlers
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  6. bark.strip: stem with vertical teeth marks from moose or deer
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  7. stem.broken: stem pulled down and snapped by browsing moose
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes

hf242-03: oak and hemlock seedlings

  1. plot.name: plot name
  2. species: tree species or genus name
  3. height.class: height of seedling
    • 1: 0.30-0.99 m
    • 2: 1-1.99 m
    • 3: 2-3 m
    • 4: >3 m
  4. browsed: sign of past browsing on any part of stem
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  5. lead.browsed: leading shoot of seedling browsed
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  6. origin: origin
    • seed: stem grown from a seed
    • sprout: stem is a basal or seedling sprout
  7. browsed.dead: stem dead with signs of browsing
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes

hf242-04: pellet groups

  1. plot.name: plot name
  2. deer: number of white-tailed deer pellet groups (defined as at least 15 individual pellets) in 400m2 plot (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  3. moose: number of moose pellet groups (defined as at least 15 individual pellets) in 400m2 plot (unit: number / missing value: NA)

hf242-05: red maple browse

  1. plot.name: plot name
  2. browsed: sign of past browsing on any part of red maple seedling between 30 cm and 3 m in height
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes
  3. lead.browsed: leading shoot of red maple seedling browsed
    • 0: no
    • 1: yes

hf242-06: shrubs

  1. plot.name: plot name
  2. species: shrub species or genus; “Unk” = unknown species
  3. tally: total number of individual stems ≥1 m in height in the 25, 4m2 subplots (unit: number / missing value: NA)

hf242-07: herbs

  1. plot.name: plot name
  2. herb1: most abundant herb species or genus in plot; graminoid = unknown grass or sedge; unk = unknown forb
  3. herb2: second most abundant herb species or genus in plot; graminoid = unknown grass or sedge; unk = unknown forb