The effect of riparian buffer strips on salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) community structure in alder stands of the Oregon Coast Range Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/zp38wh808

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  • Salmonberry community structure was examined in alder-dominated riparian buffer strips in the Oregon Coast Range. Salmonberry growing on slopes was found to respond differently, to both characteristics of the buffer strips and to environmental factors, than salmonberry growing on terraces. Salmonberry, as measured by total height, number of ramets or sprouting centers, cover, and estimated biomass, was found to increase with increasing light on the slopes. Salmonberry cover, height and number of ramers were all found to be greater on slopes within buffer strips, than on slopes in undisturbed riparian stands, where the adjacent stand had not been cut and no buffer created. The greater dominance of salmonberry within buffer strips was attributed to increased sidelight into the riparian area, due to the hest of the adjacent stand. None of the four salmonberry characteristics were found to be related to light on the terraces. Salmonberry height, cover, number of ramets, and biomass on terraces did, however, all increase with increasing age of the buffer strip. There did not appear to be any clear edge effect on salmonberry within the buffer strips. An index of herbaceous vegetation was developed, through ordination, to examine the effects of unquantified environmental factors on salmonberry. Disturbance appeared to play a role in the variation seen in the salmonberry population. Salmonberry's aerial stem diameter distribution, both within buffer strips and in undisturbed stands, resembled an uneven-aged distribution. Sairnonberry stem distribution followed the same pattern whether on slopes or terraces. This suggests persistent, self-replacing salmonberry stands in these alder-dominated riparian communities. Salmonberry was found to be negatively correlated with herb, vine maple, and swordfern cover, and also with herbaceous species abundance. There was no relationship between salmonberry and elderberry cover. Tree regeneration was found to be extremely sparse. Only one alder seedling per hectare was found in the undisturbed riparian stands. There were 29 seedlings per hectare found within the buffer strips, 22 of which were conifers. The four salmonberry community variables increased in response to buffer strip creation when growing on both slopes and terraces. Salmonberry was shown to have a self-replacing canopy, and to dominate other shrubs and herbs in the riparian community. These factors, along with the lack of tree regeneration in these alder-dominated riparian areas, all suggest that without silvicultural intervention salmonberry could eventually dominate the riparian community.
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