Intensively managed pine forests are common in the Southeast, and various methods are available to reduce competing vegetation and promote pine growth. Mechanical site preparation removes, piles, or incorporates post-harvest residual vegetation into the soil. Chemical site preparation is frequently used to selectively inhibit growth of competing vegetation and tank mixes of multiple herbicides are often used to broaden vegetation control. Chemical releases can be used to reduce herbaceous vegetation shortly after planting or later in stand development.
Although other studies have examined effects of stand initiation treatments on plants, pine growth, and wildlife, few long-term studies exist that describe relationships between combinations of pine spacing, mechanical and chemical site preparation, and chemical releases, and how they affect plant and wildlife communities. We determined how plants, small mammals, and birds responded to combinations of common site preparation techniques, including mechanical site preparation/pine spacing combinations, the use or lack of chemical site preparation, and a 1 year broadcast or banded chemical release in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. We are also evaluating the effects of intensive stand regeneration techniques on deer and quail forage plants.