Early impacts of midstory hardwoods and overstory density on longleaf pine seedling establishment on xeric sites

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  • Authors: Henry, Jacob; Willis, John L.;   Schnake, David K.; Roberts, Scott D.; Alexander, Heather D.;   Renninger, Heidi
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Publication Series: Proceedings - Paper (PR-P)
  • Source: e–Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–253. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station

Abstract

Competition has long been considered a constraint on longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) regeneration. However, observational evidence suggests that neighboring vegetation may facilitate longleaf pine seedlings on xeric sites. To explore this notion, we established a manipulative experiment across a gradient of overstory basal area (9 to 25 m2/ha) with or without a hardwood midstory in the North Carolina Sandhills. After 2 years, seedling survival averaged 80 percent, differed significantly among overstory density groupings (p = 0.0006), and was lowest (73 percent) under high overstory density (greater than 18 m2/ha). Seedling survival also varied significantly among midstory treatments (p = 0.0261), with the highest survival occurring beneath an intact midstory (84 percent). Seedling biomass averaged 10.5 g, varied significantly among overstory groupings (p = 0.0007), and was greatest (10.9 g) under low overstory density (less than 12 m2/ha). The presence of a hardwood midstory did not significantly impact seedling growth.

  • Citation: Henry, Jacob; Willis, John L.;  Schnake, David K.; Roberts, Scott D.; Alexander, Heather D.;  Renninger, Heidi. 2020. Early impacts of midstory hardwoods and overstory density on longleaf pine seedling establishment on xeric sites. In: Bragg, Don C.; Koerth, Nancy E.; Holley, A. Gordon, eds. 2020. Proceedings of the 20th biennial southern silvicultural research conference. e–Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–253. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station: 107-111.
  • Keywords: longleaf pine, Pinus palustris, competition, seedling survival, seedling biomass
  • Posted Date: September 14, 2020
  • Modified Date: September 16, 2020
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