Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2004
Publication Date: 11/1/2005
Citation: Matney, C.A., Boyd, C.S., Stringham, T.K. 2005. Effects of felled western juniper placed over streamside willow shrubs. Rangeland Ecology and Management.58(6):111-114.
Interpretive Summary: Willows are an important plant for many streamside plant communitites. They help stabilize streambanks and provide browse for wildlife and livestock. Heavy browsing can reduce the abundance of willows. We placed felled western juniper trees along a stream where heavy browsing had reduced willow abundance. Our results showed that willows covered by felled western juniper had 480% more growth than man-covered areas. Using cut western juniper trees to protect recovering willows is an option land managers may fund useful.
Technical Abstract: Willow (Salix) communities are important components of riparian ecosystems. However, browsing by livestock and wildlife species can negatively impact willow size and abundance, and make restoration efforts difficult. A common solution has been fencing of affected willows to exclude ungulates, but fencing is expensive and may not complement desireable land management strategies. An alternative to fencing is the use of structures that limit access to streamside willows, without excluding ungulate access to the entire riparian zone. We examined the use of felled western juniper trees (Juniperus occidentalis Hook) placed over streamside willow shrubs. Four replicates of felled western juniper treatments (covered) and noncovered treatments were applied to a 1.2-km length of stream in southeastern Oregon. Willows (< 2m) within treatment areas were censused, tagged, examined for evidence of browse-use, and measured for maximum height during August 2002, before treatment. Post-treatment measurements were made in August and October 2003. Results indicate that by August 2003 (post-treatment) the average growth of willows in covered treatments was 25 cm (480%) greater than in noncovered treatments. By October 2003 (post-treatment), more shrubs were browsed in noncovered (84%) than covered (39%) treatments. Our data suggest that covering small willow shrubs (< 2m tall) with felled western juniper is an effective deterrent to browsing.