Submitted to: Ecological Society of America Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2002
Publication Date: August 4, 2002
Citation: Halvorson, J.J., Belesky, D.P., Feldhake, C.M. 2002. Influence of forest canopy on microclimate, growth and quality of a cool-season perennial grass. Page 360 IN Abstracts of the Meetings of the Ecological Society of America, August 4-9, 2002, Tucson, Arizona. Technical Abstract: Silvopastoral strategies and forage-plant communities that expand spatial and temporal boundaries of production, optimize resource utilization, promote biological diversity and ecosystem stability will benefit small-scale, hill-land farms in Appalachia. We compared microclimate, growth and quality of orchardgrass, Dactylis glomerata L., grown in pots under full canopy (Forest), partial shade at the edge of a clearing (Edge) and under open sky (Open). We observed little difference among sites for air temperature. Highest soil temperatures were observed early in the season at the Open site but at the Edge after mid-August. Volumetric soil moisture, initially highest in the Forest, was higher in the Open by August. Growing degree-days, based on air temperature, were similar for all sites, but lower for the Forest when based on surface temperature. Cumulative yield for plants growing in the Open was more than twice that of the Forest. Relative growth rates declined with time but were greater for plants in the Forest than Open site. Shoot:root ratios, initially similar for all locations, declined by d 255 at all sites but most for plants in the Open. Leaf area ratios were greatest in the Forest site and least in the Open. Orchardgrass from the Forest site contained less total nonstructural carbohydrate and higher concentrations of nitrogen than plants grown in the Open. Our data suggest successful silvopastoral systems will promote transition zones and not extreme environmental conditions.