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Picture of Endangered Running Buffalo Clover Finds a Home in West Virginia
Endangered Running Buffalo Clover Finds a Home in West Virginia

Title: Effects of forest management practices on the federally endangered running buffalo clover (Trifolium stoloniferum Muhl. Ex. A. Eaton)

Author: Madarish, Darlene; Schuler, Thomas M.;

Date: 2002

Source: Natural Areas Journal. 22: 120-128.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Running buffalo clover (Trifolium stoloniferum Muhl. ex. A. Eaton), a federally endangered plant species, often occurs in habitats affected by periodic disturbance such as mowing or grazing. At the Femow Experimental Forest in West Virginia, USA, it is most often associated with skid roads where uneven-aged silvicultural techniques are being tested. We monitored running buffalo clover population trends for seven years in two research compartments before and after scheduled silvicultural operations. Stem density (stems/m2) was declining in both compartments prior to planned silvicultural operations, and ground-based skidding caused a further reduction in the number of running buffalo clover locations and stems. Running buffalo clover began to increase in density two years after the logging. Running buffalo clover excluded from ground disturbance increased in the second growing season following tree removal, but had declined by the third season. Running buffalo clover subjected to ground disturbance continued to increase in density during the third growing season. Canopy gaps, leaf area index, associated plants, and abiotic factors were compared between 35 sites supporting running buffalo clover and an equal number of randomly chosen sites in a third research compartment that had not been disturbed by silvicultural operations for 15 years. Running buffalo clover sites had greater gap areas and lower leaf area indexes than average for the whole compartment. Several herbaceous species, including Panicum L. spp., Eupatorium rugosum Houttuyn, and Amphicarpaea bracteata (L.) Fern., were found more frequently at sites supporting running buffalo clover than would be predicted by chance. Preliminary results indicate that controlling the intensity of surface disturbance, combined with the reduction in canopy density associated with uneven-aged silviculture, will help sustain populations of running buffalo clover in managed forests.

Keywords: endangered species, leaf area index, running buffalo clover, Trifolium stoloniferum, unevenaged silviculture

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Madarish, Darlene; Schuler, Thomas M. 2002. Effects of forest management practices on the federally endangered running buffalo clover (Trifolium stoloniferum Muhl Ex A Eaton). Natural Areas Journal. 22: 120-128.


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