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Response of lodgepole pine seedlings to simulated cattle Damage

Author(s) or contact(s): R.F. Newman, K.J. Cameron, B.M. Wikeem, P.L. Youwe, D.A. Quinton, M.D. Pitt, and G.W. Powell
Source: Research Branch
Subject: Range Management
Series: Research Report
Other details:  Published 1997. Hardcopy is available.


Wounds were artificially applied to 2-year-old lodgepole pine seedlings in order to simulate the type of damage that commonly occurs when cattle trample or browse tree seedlings. Specifically, this study investigated the effects of basal scarring and leader damage on survival and growth of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm.) seedlings, at two phenological stages (during and after terminal elongation).

Tree seedling survival was unaffected by the damage treatments. Observed seedling mortality in adjacent cattle-grazed pastures is therefore unlikely to be due to trampling or browsing damage alone. A combination of factors, such as sub-optimal growing conditions or vegetation competition, along with trampling and/or browsing damage, may explain seedling mortality on grazed pastures.

The damage treatments resulted in growth losses in lodgepole pine, depending on the timing of the damage. Basal scars exceeding 25% of the stem circumference reduced diameter increment by as much as 20% (P<0.05) when applied after the completion of terminal elongation. Similarly, scars greater than 25% of the stem circumference, applied after the completion of terminal elongation, reduced height increment by as much as 28% (P<0.05). Damage applied during terminal elongation did not affect growth.

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Updated October 24, 2008