Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Individual and interactive effects of white-tailed deer and an exotic shrub on artificial and natural regeneration in mixed hardwood forests.

Abstract

Underplanting tree seedlings in areas where natural regeneration is limited may offer a tool by which desired overstory composition can be maintained or restored in forests. However, invasive plant species and ungulate browsing may limit the effectiveness of underplanting, and in-turn, the successful restoration of forest ecosystems. Individually, the invasive shrub Lonicera maackii and browsing by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have been found to negatively affect the regeneration of native tree species in the Midwestern United States, but few studies have examined their interactive or cumulative effects. Using exclosures and shrub removal at five sites, we examined the effects of white-tailed deer and L. maackii both on underplanted seedlings of Castanea dentata and Quercus rubra and on the composition, species richness and diversity of naturally regenerated native tree seedlings. Individually, both deer and L. maackii had negative effects on the survival of underplanted seedlings, but we identified no interactive effects. The presence of L. maackii or deer alone resulted in similar declines in the survivorship of Q. rubra seedlings, but the presence of deer alone resulted in lower survival of C. dentata seedlings than the presence of L. maackii alone. Lonicera maackii reduced light levels, increased seedling moisture stress and decreased relative basal diameter growth for Q. rubra seedlings. Deer reduced the relative growth in height of underplanted C. dentata and Q. rubra seedlings and increased moisture stress of C. dentata seedlings. No effects of L. maackii or deer were found on soil or foliar nitrogen or the overall abundance, species richness and diversity of naturally regenerated seedlings. However, L. maackii and white-tailed deer did affect the abundance of individual tree species, shifting composition of the regeneration layer towards shade tolerant and unpalatable and/or browse tolerant species.