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

Author: Harrington, Timothy B.; Dagley, Christa M.; Edwards, M. Boyd;

Date: 2002

Source: FOR. SCI. 49(5): 681-695.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

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 belowground competition, respectively. Depending on species, needlefall effects were positive, negative, or negligible. Results indicate that understory restoration will be most successfuI 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.

Keywords: Pinus palustris, resource availability, trenching, needlefall, cover, biomass.

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Harrington, Timothy B.; Dagley, Christa M.; Edwards, M. Boyd 2002. Above- and belowground competition from longleaf pine plantations limits performance of reintroduced herbaceous species. FOR. SCI. 49(5): 681-695.

 


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