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Performance of Planted Herbaceous Species in Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) Plantations: Overstory Effects of Competition and Needlefall

Description: Research to determine the separate effects of above-ground and below-ground competition and needlefall of over-story pines on under-story plant performance. Periodic monitoring of over-story crown closure, soil water content, temperature, and nutrients were conducted. Results indicate competition for light had a more determental effect on performance of herbaceous species in longleaf pine plantations than that resulting from competition for below-ground resources.
Date: July 3, 2001
Creator: Dagley, C.M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Above- and belowground competition from longleaf pine plantations limits performance of reintroduced herbaceous species.

Description: Although overstory trees limit the abundance and species richness of herbaceous vegetation in longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) plantations, the responsible mechanisms are poorly understood because of confounding among limiting factors. In fall 1998, research was initiated to determine the separate effects of above- and belowground competition and needlefall from overstory pines on understory plant performance. Three 13- to 15-yr-old plantations near Aiken, SC, were thinned to 0, 25, 50, or 100% of nonthinned basal area (19.5 m2 ha-1). Combinations of trenching (to eliminate root competition) and needlefall were applied to areas within each plot, and containerized seedlings of 14 perennial herbaceous species and longleaf pine were planted within each. Overstory crown closure ranged from 0 to 81%, and soil water and available nitrogen varied consistently with pine stocking, trenching, or their combination. Cover of planted species decreased an average of 16.5 and 14.1% as a result of above- and below-ground competition, respectively. Depending on species, needlefall effects were positive, negative, or negligible. Results indicate that understory restoration will be most successful when herbaceous species are established within canopy openings (0.1-0.2 ha) managed to minimize negative effects from above- and belowground competition and needlefall.
Date: October 1, 2003
Creator: Harrington, T.B.; Dagley, C.M. & Edwards., M.B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department