Site preparation for switchgrass intercropping in loblolly pine plantations reduces retained trees and snags, but maintains downed woody debris

Forestry
By: , and 

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Abstract

Within young pine (Pinus spp.) plantations, coarse woody debris (CWD) and green trees are important habitat structures that may be impacted by the production of biofuel feedstock. Therefore, we compared site preparation procedures associated with switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) intercropping to determine effects on CWD and green trees in stands (n = 24) site-prepared for intercropping, with switchgrass only, or pine plantation in Mississippi, USA. Following site preparation, CWD dispersal or volume did not differ between intercropped and control stands. Intercropped stands had significantly fewer retained trees and snags. Switchgrass monocultures had no retained trees or piles and significantly fewer pieces and less volume of CWD than the other treatments. Our results suggest switchgrass intercropping may provide similar habitat quality to traditional pine plantations for wildlife species using these areas in the year following disturbance, but may provide a less suitable habitat for species that require snags. However, the relationship between snag reduction and wildlife population response in an intercropped setting is not clear and should be further investigated. Regardless, if retaining snags is a desired outcome, site preparation for switchgrass should be restricted to the interbed area where it will be cultivated as opposed to extensive debris removal from the entire site.                   

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Site preparation for switchgrass intercropping in loblolly pine plantations reduces retained trees and snags, but maintains downed woody debris
Series title Forestry
DOI 10.1093/forestry/cpt004
Volume 86
Issue 3
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher Oxford University Press
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 8 p.
First page 353
Last page 360
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Kemper County
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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