Year of Publication

2019

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest and Natural Resource Sciences (MSFNRS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Forestry and Natural Resources

First Advisor

Dr. Jian Yang

Second Advisor

Dr. Marco Contreras

Abstract

Invasive exotic species (IES) responses to silvicultural treatments eight years after timber harvesting were examined and compared to one-year post-harvest IES survey in University of Kentucky’s Robinson Forest. The temporal effects of harvesting were further compared between harvested and non-harvested watersheds. Analyses were performed to identify IES spatial distribution and determine the relationships between IES presence and disturbance effects, biological, and environmental characteristics. IES prevalence was higher in the harvested watersheds and was influenced by canopy cover, shrub cover and disturbance proximity. Ailanthus altissima and Microstegium vimineum presence in the study area has decreased over time. Comparing to the 1-yr post-harvest study which only identified direct harvesting effects (e.g. canopy cover and disturbance proximities) as significant predictors, the 8-yr post-harvest survey results suggest that while harvesting effects and disturbance proximity still play an important role, environmental characteristics have also taken precedence in predicting IES presence. Overall IES prevalence has decreased but invasive plant species richness has increased over time. Results indicate that IES eradication may not need to be conducted immediately after harvesting, and when needed, can primarily target IES hotspots where low canopy cover, proximity to disturbance, and southwest facing slopes convene on the landscape.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2019.092

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