Effects of Intensive Forestry on Succession and Wildlife in Florida Sandhills

Twelve 259 ha (1 mi2) plots of varying clearcut percentages were established in a randomi7.ed complete block design in the central Florida sandhills. Response variables ranged from understory vegetation changes to game species abundance over a period of 13 years. Pine (Pinus spp.) plantation establishment resulted in an increase (P < .05) in understory vegetation biomass and diversity. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginanus) seemed to prefer the partial plantation plots, but there was also a significant seasonal interaction between habitat type and deer usage. Passeriform and Piciform birds and fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) preferred the uncleared plots while gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) and cottontail rabbits (Sulvilagus .I1oridanus) seemed to prefer the plantations. Rodents increased markedly in the first three years after site preparation, but numbers quickly decreased to typically low levels. Arthropod populations were greater (P < .05) in the plantations than native areas although no differences were found in ordinal level diversities.

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