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Harvard Forest REU Symposium Abstract 2006

  • Title: Recent and Past Land Uses Affect Berberis thunbergii Performance
  • Author: ()
  • Abstract:

    Invasive species management requires a firm understanding of the biology of the study organism and how different historical and environmental variables affect its performance. Previous work has shown that early 20th century land use affects the abundance and distribution of Japanese barberry, Berberis thunbergii, but that recent harvesting has no significant effects. This study examined how past land use and recent harvesting affect barberry’s age structure, recruitment rates, growth rates, density, percent cover, and fruit production. We examined barberry populations in the Prescott Peninsula of the Quabbin Reservoir under different 1927 land uses and under different recent harvesting treatments and sampled stems for age and diameter. Environmental data, percent cover, and fruit production data were also gathered in early 2006. Results showed that barberry stems that are in continuously wooded forest stands are older than stems from previously opened lands, but that recent harvesting seems to have no impact on average age. Neither past land use nor recent harvesting had an impact on recruitment rates, growth rates, density, percent cover, or fruit production. Environmental variables did not have a strong impact on any of the demographic variables we examined. These data suggest that continuously wooded sites are acting differently demographically while recent harvesting has little effect on the population structure. This offers potential management implications when assigning priorities to different barberry populations.

  • Research Category: Historical and Retrospective Studies; Invasive Plants, Pests & Pathogens