Comparative effects of chemical, fire, and machine site preparation in an Oregon coastal brushfield Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/4b29b794q

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  • Four brushfield reclamation methods were compared on a 28 hectare area supporting a dense overstory of red alder and a thick understory of deciduous brush species. Tractor scarification, aerial application of 2, 4, 5-T and picloram followed by broadcast burning or tractor crushing, and aerial application of glyphosate were performed during the summer and early fall of 1976, after salvage logging. Prior to disturbance, permanent sampling points were established throughout the area, and vegetation characteristics assessed. The season after site preparation, points were revisited and treatment effects on vegetation, brush species response, and operational planting characteristics observed. Additional information on treatment effectiveness, soil disturbance, and animal habitat was also recorded. All methods successfully reduced competitive woody cover. Canopies supporting 50 to 100 percent cover were typically reduced to near-zero levels after site treatment. Few plant species, either woody or herbaceous, were eliminated by any of the treatments. Species found in the original brushfield community were clearly present one season after logging and site preparation, although the relative dominance of those plants appears to have been lowered because of an increase in the abundance of a few invading and residual species. Few woody plants escaped undamaged. Plant response was not equal among treatments. Many of the woody plants in the scarified area were removed completely. Shrubs in the herbicide-burn-crush combinations were generally effectively top-killed, but often produced basal sprouts. Deciduous woody plants not mechanically injured prior to glyphosate application died, or exhibited symptoms interpreted as precursors to mortality, without basal sprouting. Viable woody root systems were still present in all areas, however. Abundant and well distributed planting environments were created by all four treatments. Difficulty of planting was rated least in the scarified area. Coniferous tree seedlings planted in all treatment areas should be subject to environments conducive to survival and growth desired in a commercial plantation. The vegetation following site treatment is important in determining the rate at which competitive effects return to the site. Woody plant development from existing root systems in the herbicide-burn-crush combinations, and moisture demanding herbaceous vegetation appearing after scarification suggests that seedlings planted in those areas may be faced with serious competition within a few seasons. Woody plant development from weakened residual root systems may occur in the glyphosate treated areas also, but because plants injured by this herbicide generally do not sprout, the rate of development should be slower, allowing seedlings a greater time period for unrestricted growth.
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