Survival and Growth of Bottomland Hardwood Seedlings and Natural Woody Invaders Near Forest EdgesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Several oak species are frequently planted for reforestation projects in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV), but the success of these plantings has been variable. The survival and growth of planted seed or seedlings are affected by a variety of factors, including competition, herbivory, site preparation, precipitation, planting stock quality, and planting techniques. We surveyed reforested fields in the LMAV to examine survival and growth of planted oaks and the occurrence of natural invaders that became established in these fields. Oak (Quercus spp.) densities averaged 413 stems per ha within 150 m of forest edges, as compared with 484 stems per ha between 150 to 300 m from the forest edge. Also there were higher densities of natural woody invaders near forest edges (4,234 stems per ha at 0 - 150 m compared with 2,193 stems per ha at 150-300 m). These data show that seed and seedlings proximity to a nearby forest edge has an effect on survival and growth. Since planted trees in the 0 – 150 m forest edge zone encounter high densities of natural invaders, it may be prudent to reduce the number of planted trees. Naturally occurring invaders enhance diversity and also augment depleted oak plantings near the forest edge with no added expense or effort.