Impact of Forest Plantations on North Florida Wildlife and Habitat

Seasonal measures of the animal community and understory vegetation in nine year old slash pine plantations of three different levels of site preparation intensity are compared to mature natural stands. While there appear to be no significant differences in bird, mammal or arthropod populations between the three site preparation intensities of young plantation. responses were significantly different when mature stands were included in the comparison. Bird and small mammal abundance and diversity was much greater in the mature longleaf pine stand than any other habitat type. Low intensity preparation sites generally supported greater numbers of birds and small mammals than the high intensity plots. Preliminary analyses of arthropod abundance at ground level suggest an inverse relation with site preparation intensity while there are no clear differences in the 0.2 to 1.5 m lone. Vegetation succession is more advanced in the higher intensity site preparation plantations. While grasses and forbs still dominate the low intensity plots, higher strata woody vegetation dominates the high intensity preparation plots.

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