• Vegetative Response to Clearcutting and Chopping in a North Florida Flatwoods Forest

      Moore, W. H.; Swindel, B. F.; Terry, W. S. (Society for Range Management, 1982-03-01)
      Selected naturally regenerated flatwoods forests were clearcut and chopped in preparing a large, long-term study of the effects of several multiple-use management practices on forest vegetation and wildlife. Early effects of clearcutting and chopping on understory vegetation are reported here. Clearcutting and chopping reduced woody understory coverage from 66 to 18% of surface area. Common gallberry and saw-palmetto were reduced by 75 and 89%, respectively. Herbaceous species frequency was increased: Panicums by over 3,000%; bluestems by 173%; grasslikes by over 2,000%; and forbs by 308%. Graphical analyses show an increase in herbaceous species diversity as a result of mechanical site disturbance. Comparing these graphs with those reported on the effects of prescribed burning suggests that the collective vegetative response to mechanical site disturbance is qualitatively similar to the response to fire. Quantitatively the response to mechanical disturbance is more pronounced.