Volume 79 - Issue 1 (March 2014)

Vegetative Impact of Feral Horses, Feral Pigs, and White-tailed Deer on the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina

ABSTRACT The Currituck National Wildlife Refuge (CNWR) in North Carolina is inhabited by feral horses (Equus caballus), feral pigs (Sus scrofa), and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). The impact of these species on the vegetation of CNWR is unknown. To assess impact, we created two replicate exclosure plots within maritime forests, brackish marshes, and maritime grasslands. An electric fence divided each habitat into two sections: including or excluding horses. On each side of the electric fence within each habitat, we sampled three different 5 35 m plots (i.e., 36 plots). The first was a fenced exclosure 3 m high, the second a fenced exclosure raised 1 m above the ground and extended to 3 m, and the third, a control, was not fenced. Within plots, we created two 1 m transects, and randomly selected and tagged grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees. We measured the distances from base to tip of herbs

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Hurricane-Caused Tree Loss on Permanent Plots in a Temperate Hardwood Forest

ABSTRACT Hurricane Isabel (September 2003) was the largest, most damaging hurricane to hit Virginia in at least 70 years. Permanent plots established in a maturing upland hardwood forest in 2002 were resampled in 2004 to assess hurricane damage. Tree loss among stems ‡10 cm diameter breast high (dbh) varied from none in 7 of the 20 plots to 50% of stems and 83% of canopy cover in a plot hit by a local microburst. Loss was greater on ridges and other higher elevation sites, and downwind of expanses of water. Loss was significantly higher in trees ‡60 cm dbh. Loss in Quercus velutina (46.6%) was significantly higher, and in Fagus grandifolia (7.7%) and Acer rubrum (7.4%) loss was significantly lower than the overall loss rate (16.9%). The latter two species occurred mostly in the lower canopy and understory, where tree loss was generally lower. Among stems ‡2.5 cm dbh but

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