Optimizing Wildlife Habitat and Oak Regeneration in Bottomland Hardwoods using Midstory Control and Partial Harvest
Rainer, James Cody
CommitteeEzell, Andrew W.
Timber and wildlife habitat management may be conflicting objectives, but both benefit from increasing light in bottomland forests through harvesting and midstory control, and a target residual basal area may be used to optimize both. Six areas were used to evaluate effects of partial harvest and midstory control on oak regeneration, diameter growth of residual trees, and white-tailed deer carrying capacity. Partial harvest treatments consisted of residual basal areas of 70ft2/ac (16.07m2/ha), 60ft2/ac (13.77m2/ha), 50ft2/ac (11.48 m2/ha), 40ft2/ac (9.18m2/ha), 30ft2/ac (6.89m2/ha), and untreated controls. All partial harvest areas received midstory control using injection with imazapyr. Available light was related to residual basal area (R2 = 0.808). Treatments with 50ft2/ac residual basal area exhibited the optimal amount of oak regeneration and white-tailed deer carrying capacity. Treatments with 30ft2/ac had greatest diameter growth. This research provided guidelines for managers that wish to optimize white-tailed deer habitat and oak regeneration.