Date of this Version
Herbivory assessments were conducted on seven reforested sites that were less than one year old in the following Mississippi counties: Bolivar, Leflore, and Attala. At each site, 100ft. x 100 ft. plots were established and randomly selected seedlings were marked and measured to determine seedling species, height, condition, survival, and type and extent of animal feeding sign. Surveys were conducted in March/April, May, and August 2004. Herbivory rates were highest during May with approximately 47% of seedlings showing signs of herbivory. In March/April and August, the percentage of seedlings exhibiting signs of herbivory was 37% and 30%, respectively. Foraging by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was recorded on > 90% of the damaged seedlings during each survey. Tree mortality for all study sites and tree species was negligible, with the highest amount (7%) recorded during August, despite the recorded rates of herbivory by white-tailed deer. Herbivory by rabbits (Sylvilagus spp.) and rodents occurred on approximately 6% of the seedlings throughout the 2004 growing season.