Date of Award

Fall 2016

Project Type

Thesis

Program or Major

Natural Resources

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Theodore E Howard

Second Advisor

Thomas D Lee

Third Advisor

Mark J Ducey

Abstract

Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus Mill.) is one of the most prominent non-native invasive plant species affecting New England forests. It quickly invades a forest and can create a dense understory effectively altering the species composition and dynamics of that forest. To gain a better understanding of the environmental variables associated with glossy buckthorn density we sampled forests across New Hampshire with varying degrees of buckthorn invasion. The effect on tree regeneration was analyzed with measurements of height and abundance of glossy buckthorn and native regeneration. Glossy buckthorn was found to be at its highest densities in disturbed softwood forests that were historically old fields, specifically eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.), with a thin organic layer and low herbaceous cover on drained loam and clay soils. The data show there is direct competition between glossy buckthorn and forest tree regeneration, although no relationship with regeneration shade tolerance was found. This information was used to create a prescription risk tree to aid forest managers in assessing the risk of buckthorn invasion and inhibition of tree regeneration associated with harvesting and suggests how to adapt their silvicultural prescriptions.

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