Effects of Burning and Folivory on Growth of Oak Saplings for Oak Advance Regeneration and Commercial Use in Oak Forests and Savannahs
D. Alexander Wait
The interactive effects of fire and herbivory were examined to assess oak advanced regeneration potential and commercial selective harvesting. This study quantified loss of oak sapling leaf area to insect herbivores in recently burned or unburned oak forest and oak savanna in Missouri. Foliar area and damage were measured on 180 oak saplings (< 1.5 m height) across the four habitat types; water status and foliar nitrogen (N) concentration were measured on 75 oak saplings. Foliar area of saplings was significantly greater in savannas than forests. Foliar damage was significantly greater in forests, with the greatest amount of foliar damage occurring in burned forest. Oak saplings in forest were less water stressed and had greater foliar N concentration than oak saplings in savanna. These data suggest that oak saplings in forests are potentially more susceptible to herbivore damage than oaks managed in savannas, especially following a prescribed burn.
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