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Harvard Forest Research Project 2022

  • Title: Ungulate-Vegetation Interactions in Forest Disturbed by (simulated) Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and Logging
  • Principal investigator: Edward Faison (efaison@highstead.net)
  • Institution: Highstead, Inc.
  • Primary contact: Edward Faison (efaison@highstead.net)
  • Team members: Audrey Barker Plotkin; Stephen DeStefano; Mark VanScoy
  • Abstract:

    Background

    Ungulates such as white-tailed and moose are often associated with recent forest disturbances such as fire, logging and insect outbreaks, which stimulate high densities of palatable browse (Geist 1998; Kuijper et al. 2009). Browsing can, in turn, modify the effects of canopy disturbance on forest recovery and ecological processes (Eschtruth and Battles 2008). Despite the often significant role that ungulates play in recently disturbed forests, surprisingly little is known about ungulate-disturbance interactions, and mammalian herbivory has often been excluded from examinations of forest response to disturbance (Wisdom et al. 2006, Eschtruth and Battles 2008). In the Northeastern United States, a large-scale insect outbreak, the hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA), is impacting hemlock forests both directly and indirectly (i.e. by preemptive logging). Ours is the first known study to examined the interactions of combined moose and deer browsing with this insect disturbance.

    Literature Cited

    Eschtruth, A.K. and J. J. Battles. 2008. Deer Herbivory Alters Forest Response to Canopy Decline Caused by an Exotic Insect Pest. Ecological Applications 18: 360-376.

    Geist, V. 1998. Deer of the World. Stackpole Books. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

    Kuijper, D. P. J. et al. 2009. Do ungulates preferentially feed in forest gaps in European temperate forests? Forest Ecology and Management 258:1528�1535

    Wisdom, M.J. et al. 2006. Understanding Ungulate Herbivory-Episodic Disturbance Effects on Vegetation Dynamics: Knowledge Gaps and Management Needs. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34: 283-292.