The University of Arizona

A method for determining the onset year of intense browsing.

R.B. Keigley, M.R. Frisina, C. Fager

Abstract


A survey based on browsing related architectures indicated that browsing level had increased at the Mt. Haggin Wildlife Management Area. We describe a technique for determining the year in which the increase in browsing level occurred. The technique is based on the analysis of stems old enough to have experienced the early period of light browsing; the onset year of intense browsing was determined by using dendrochronology to date the formation of twig clusters produced by intense browsing. Stems from 20 Geyer willow (Salix geyeriana Anderss.) plants were analyzed from each of 6 study sites. Mean onset years at the 6 sites ranged from 1983.1 to 1988.4; the mean onset year for all 6 sites was 1985.4 +/- 0.5 SE (N = 120). The reconstructed history was used to evaluate the relationship between moose (Alces alces) number and browse trend. From 1976 to 2000, the winter trend census of moose increased from 7 to 56. The onset of intense browsing in 1985 occurred when 23 moose were counted.

DOI:10.2458/azu_jrm_v56i1_keigley


Keywords


salix geyeriana;population growth;date;twig clusters;Alces alces;plant architecture;Salix;stems;browse plants;plant morphology;browsing damage;Montana

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