Subterranean Clover on Southern Pine Range: Potential Benefits to Game
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CitationRibbeck, K. F., Johnson, M. K., & Dancak, K. (1987). Subterranean clover on southern pine range: Potential benefits to game. Journal of Range Management, 40(2), 116-118.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractWildlife habitat is an important component of forested lands in the South. We examined effects of silvicultural practices and understory management on abundance of arthropods for wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) and bobwhite (Colinus virginianus). Plots (roughtly equal to 0.1 ha) of southern pine timber (25-35 years old) were thinned or cleared and were planted with subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum) or were allowed to produce native vegetation. Arthropods were most abundant in clearings for both understory treatments: 127 +/- 15 (subterranean clover), 45 +/- 5 (native) per plot. Abundance of arthropods on pine forested plots with a subterranean clover understory was often greater than abundance of arthropods on cleared plots with native vegetation. Many of the arthropods sampled were the kinds often used by wild turkey and bobwhite. Subterranean clover production on forested plots was about 70% of production on cleared plots. Arthropods from 5 of 8 orders were significantly (P<0.05) more abundant in subterranean clover plots compared to native vegetation. Abundance of arthropods was significantly (P<0.05) associated with forage yield. Dead subterranean clover provided more arthropods in summer than live native vegetation. Planting subterranean clover in Southern pine timber offers a good alternative to removal of timber production for improving wildlife habitat and for integrating livestock and game management practices. Costs for establishing (roughly equal to $100/ha) and maintaining (roughly equal to $50/ha/yr) subterranean clover under pine timber are less than the potential loss in timber revenue ($125 to 340/ha/yr) associated with maintaining clearings.