Document Type

Article

Editors

Robert Wagner and Eric J. Jokela

Publication Date

8-31-2015

Publication Title

Forests

ISSN

1999-4907

Volume

6

Issue

9

First Page

3060

Last Page

3074

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/f6093060

Abstract

Mastication is a forest fuel thinning treatment that involves chipping or shredding small trees and shrubs and depositing the material across the forest floor. By decreasing forest density mastication has been shown to lessen crown fire hazard, yet other impacts have only recently started to be studied. Our study evaluates how mastication treatments alter the density and composition of soil seed banks in three Colorado conifer forest types. The three forest types were (1) lodgepole pine, (2) ponderosa pine and (3) pinyon pine-juniper. Results showed that masticated sites contained higher seed bank densities than untreated sites: a pattern primarily driven by treatment effects in ponderosa pine forests. The seed bank was dominated by forbs regardless of forest type or treatment. This pattern of forb dominance was not observed in the above ground vegetation cover as it demonstrated more even proportions of the functional groups. Graminoids showed a higher seed density in treated sites than untreated and, similarly, the identified non-native species only occurred in the treated ponderosa pine sites suggesting a potential below ground invasion for this forest type. These results suggest that presence of masticated material might not be creating a physical barrier hindering the transfer of seeds as predicted.

Comments

Publication of this article was funded by the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries Open Access Fund.

This article was originally published in Forests.

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