Floristic diversity, stand structure, and composition 11 years after herbicide site preparation
This study tested for effects of site preparation herbicides applied at high labeled rates 11 years earlier on plant species richness, diversity, and stand structure and composition. Four study sites in three physiographic provinces were established in central Georgia in 1984. Six herbicide treatments were included on each site: hexazinone liquid, hexazinone pellets, glyphosate, triclopyr, picloram, and a mixture of dicamba and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D). Herbicide and untreated plots were prescribed-burned and planted to loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.). Eleven years after treatment, 177 total species were identified in these dense pine plantations; 99 species were forbs and grasses-grasslikes. Treated and check plots did not differ in species richness or diversity. Structurally, the total basal area of the tree canopy was not significantly altered, but the proportion of pine to hardwoods and shrub stem density were influenced by treatment. Latent effects were detected in the abundance and frequency of Pinus taeda, Prunus serotina Ehrh., Quercus stellata Wangenh., Diospyros virginiana L., Vaccinium stamineum L., Vitis rotundifolia Michx., and Lespedeza bicolor Turcz. Most are potential mast producers for wildlife. Herbicide site preparation had little influence on total species numbers or their diversity 11 years after treatment but affected composition by altering perennial species abundance.