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Effects of different moose browsing pressures on the succession of plant communities within the herbaceous and saplings layers of a boreal forest

Citation

De Vriendt, Laurent; Lavoie, Sébastien; Tremblay, Jean-Pierre; Brousseau, Maxime (2020), Effects of different moose browsing pressures on the succession of plant communities within the herbaceous and saplings layers of a boreal forest, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3xsj3txdp

Abstract

The present data is constituted of four different excel files: browsing data, herbs layer data, saplings layer data and latin names data.

1) Browsing data contains the number of browsed and unbrowsed twigs from all ligneous plants in the samplings plots along time.

2) Herbs layer data contains the cumulated cover of all plants species along 14 three meters long and one meter high transcects within each experimental units.

3) Saplings layer data contains the number of saplings from each species within each experimental units (280 m2).

4) Latin names data contains the latin names corresponding to the different species codes found within the herbs and saplings data.

All data sets contain his metadata sheet.

Methods

To analyze the impact of different moose browsing pressures on forest succession, we used an experimental design of 15 pairs of fenced and unfenced experimental units (28.5 m X 14 m, for 400 m² each) distributed along a gradient of moose density. We measured the linear interception of herbaceous, shurbs and trees species along 14 three meters long and one meter high transects within each experimental unit. We tallied the ground layer cover in July from the second year following fencing (T2) to 2016, with the exception of 2015. We counted the stems of every ligneous species reaching breast height (1.3 m) over the complete area of each experimental unit, minus a 1.5 m-buffer along fences. We conducted this inventory yearly from 2010 to 2016. A posteriori, we categorized Picea mariana and Picea glauca under Picea spp., Betula papyrifera and Betula alleghaniensis under Betula spp., all sedges under Carex spp. and all grasses under Grass spp. To evaluate moose browsing pressure, we tallied browse availability in twelve circular 4 m2 plots systematically distributed within each experimental unit. In each plot, we identified all ligneous species and counted the total number of twigs ≥ 10 cm long and the number of browsed twigs for every stem within 10 and 300 cm, except white and black spruces.

Funding

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies

Canada Foundation for Innovation

Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs