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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Tuesday, November 3 • 8:40am - 9:00am
Influences of Prescribed Fire and Herbicide Applications on Forage Availability for Cervids in the Cumberland Mountains, Tennessee

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Jordan S. Nanney, Craig A. Harper, David A. Buehler, Gary E. Bates – University of Tennessee

Closed-canopy forests dominate the landscape in many parts of the eastern United States and often lack a well-developed forest understory, which limits nutrition available for cervids. We evaluated the influence of timber harvest combined with prescribed fire and/or herbicide treatments in mixed-hardwood stands on forage availability for elk (Cervus elaphus) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), July-August 2013 and 2014, in east Tennessee. We compared forage availability in closed-canopy mature forest (MATFOR) and 6 timber harvest treatments (timber harvest alone (HARV), early-growing season fire (EBURN), late-growing season fire (LBURN), herbicide alone (HERB), herbicide and early-growing season fire (EB_HERB), and herbicide and late-growing season fire (LB_HERB)). Forage was measured by collecting leaf material of herbaceous and woody plant species considered selected by elk or deer in the literature. Forage availability in MATFOR (133 kg/ha : 118 lb/ac) was less than all timber harvest treatments. More forage was available in HARV (1,276 kg/ha : 1,139 lb/ac), EBURN (1,135 kg/ha : 1,013 lb/ac), LBURN (1,321 kg/ha : 1,178 lb/ac), and HERB (1,151 kg/ha : 1,127 lb/ac) than EB_HERB (814 kg/ha : 726 lb/ac) and LB_HERB (893 kg/ha : 797 lb/ac). Additionally, we compared vegetation composition among timber harvest treatments. Herbaceous species coverage did not differ (P = 0.062); although woody species coverage did differ among treatments (P = 0.0124). Woody species coverage in LB_HERB (17%) was less than HARV (50%), EBURN (46%), and LBURN (41%), but similar to EB_HERB (28%) and HERB (32%). Combining herbicide and prescribed fire following timber harvest appears to be an effective technique to increase forage for cervids and facilitate the transition of young forest to early successional plant communities in the eastern United States.

Tuesday November 3, 2015 8:40am - 9:00am EST
Ballroom Salon A

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