Using Artificial Canopy Gaps to Restore Avian Habitat in Tropical Timber Plantations

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Title: Using Artificial Canopy Gaps to Restore Avian Habitat in Tropical Timber Plantations
Author: Inman, Faith Marie
Advisors: Thomas R. Wentworth, Committee Chair
Abstract: The potential for plantations to catalyze forest regeneration on highly degraded land and the need to research management methods to increase biodiversity within plantations have been widely recognized. Our study investigated the effects of creating artificial canopy gaps by girdling exotic timber trees in plantations on the germination, growth, and survival of native tree species that may be important food plants for the Puerto Rican parrot. We found that seedling growth increased significantly in gaps; there were no differences in survival or germination between gap and closed plots. Percentage cover of grasses, shrubs, and vines increased but did not prevent tree seedlings from growing significantly more in gaps. Leaf litter removal had no effect on germination, growth, or survival. Both local and landscape level diversity is predicted to increase in gaps if large saplings present in the understory replace the girdled timber trees, but plantations will still be dominated by exotics and timber species. Our results suggest that restoration of native forest diversity in plantations will require continued management to remove exotic species and promote growth of tree species with high wildlife habitat value.
Date: 2005-10-17
Degree: MS
Discipline: Botany
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/781


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