Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project

MOFEP Projects

Forest Interior Birds
Contact: Janet Haslerig
Start Date: January 1991
Status: Ongoing

The objectives of the MOFEP bird project are to quantify the effects of even-age, uneven-age, and no forest management on the species composition, density, and reproductive success of forest songbirds in oak-hickory-pine forest in the southeast Missouri Ozarks. Data are collected in ways that allowed estimates of treatment effects at the compartment (site) level. Pre-treatment data were collected during the period 1991-1995; post-treatment data collection began in 1997 and have continued through 2006. Five mature-forest birds have remained focal species throughout the study - Acadian Flycatcher, Ovenbird, Worm-eating Warbler, Wood Thrush, Kentucky Warbler; an additional five early-successional birds were added as focal species following the first harvest in 1996 - Indigo Bunting, Yellow-breasted Chat, Prairie Warbler, Hooded Warbler, White-eyed Vireo. These birds hold territories, thus we were able to estimate population densities. They also nest at ground level or in shrubs and small trees where their nests may be found and monitored, thus allowing estimation of daily nest survival rates. Population density data also were collected for nearly 30 other forest birds but reproductive data were not as readily obtained, especially for the canopy-dwelling species. During the pre-treatment period and during post-treatment years 1997-2000, all or nearly all of each study compartment was spot-mapped to determine avian density between mid-May and the end of June. Nest searching was conducted during spot mapping activity and was performed separately, as well. Once found, nests were monitored every three to five days to determine fate. On each study compartment, birds were captured and banded on 13 mist net lines (each consisting of 12 mist nets set at 50-meter intervals and run for two consectutive days.) Mist netting and banding activity took place during July. During the period 2001-2003, study protocols were modified as follows: spot mapping and nest searching were conducted on approximately 60 percent of each study compartment and supplemental spot mapping was conducted in the interior of 10 selected clear cuts on the even-age sites; mist netting and banding were confined to net lines around and through clear cuts. During the period 2003-2006, study protocols were further modified: point counts (20 points per study compartment) were substituted for spot mapping to determine avian abundance, the supplemental spot mapping of 10 clear cuts was continued, and the mist netting and banding continued in clear cuts.


Ground Flora
Contact: Liz Olson
Start Date: January 1992
Status: Ongoing

Ground layer vegetation is an important component of any forest ecosystem and has been shown to be a useful indicaor of attributes such as disturbance history, site productivity, and potential responses to management. The MOFEP study is the first comprehensive effort to describe and evaluate the upland ground flora of the southeastern Missouri Ozarks. The overall objective is to evaluate responses of herbaceous and woody ground flora layer to the MOFEP treatments.


Hard Mast
Contact: Megan Buchanan
Start Date: January 1992
Status: Ongoing

This study will try to determine if harvest treatments of even-age, uneven-age and no-harvest management affect the production of hard mast (primarily acorns) in the short and long term. Twenty cones (0.73 m diameter) suspended in a 4 x 5 grid on a 7.7 x 8.7 spacing made up a plot. There were 130 hard mast plots allocated to 9 study sites. Acorns had data recorded as to the maturity and if they were sound (had meats not consumed by insects or others). Overstory trees are mapped and crowns measured. Harvest damage is collected.


Herpetofauna
Contact: TBA
Start Date: January 1992
Status: Ongoing

This research was designed to determine the impacts of even-aged and uneven-aged forest management had an impact on the species composition and richness, and relative abundance of amphibians and reptiles on South and West facing and North and South facing slopes within the 9 MOFEP sites. An additional goal is to examine the edge effect of clearcurts on amphibians and reptile species composition and richness, and relative abundance at 50m and 200m from clearcut edges.


Insect Herbivores
Contact: Robert Marquis
Start Date: January 1991
Status: Ongoing

The goal of this project is to determine the effects of different timber harvest regimes, and the underlying mechanisms responsible for those effects, on abundance and community structure of insect herbivores associated with black and white oak in the Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project.


Leaf Litter Arthropods
Contact: Jan Weaver
Start Date: January 1992
Status: Ongoing

The goal of this study is to measure the distribution and abundance of leaf litter arthropods on the MOFEP sites, and to evaluate the impact of cutting on their communities. The study is limited to MOFEP sites 1,2, and 3. In each site, 12 5x5 m plots were randomly placed. From each plot, four 0.03 sq m leaf litter samples were collected between May 30 and Jun 6, 1993-95 and 1997-99. The arthropods were extracted from the litter using a Tullgren funnel and identified and counted in the lab. In addition to measuring treatment effects, the study will also generate a list of arthropod species present at MOFEP sites.


Mammals
Contact: Shannon Ehlers
Start Date: January 1994
Status: Ongoing

This research was designed to determine if even-aged and uneven-aged forest management had an impact upon small mammal communities with the 9 MOFEP sites. Specifically, the research asks if the species composition and richness, and relative abundance of small mammal communities is impacted.


Stump Sprouting
Contact: Dan Dey
Start Date: January 1992
Status: Ongoing

We evaluated stump sprouting potential of white oak, black oak and scarlet oak in relation to tree age, stem diameter and overstory density in Ozark forests managed by even-aged and uneven-aged silvicultural systems. In eastern North America, few studies have evaluated the influence of a forest canopy on the potential of hardwood stumps to sprout and contribute to regeneration. The Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project (MOFEP) provides an opportunity to study oak stump sprouting in relation to tree characteristics and residual overstory density resulting from various regeneration methods.

One growing season after the clearcut, single-tree and group selection harvests on MOFEP (1996), we measured sprout growth on 701 stumps of white oak (Quercus alba L.), scarlet oak (Q. coccinea Muenchh.) and black oak (Q. velutina Lam.). Stumps were selected from plots (primarily on Ecological Land Types 17 and 18) within uneven- and even-aged compartments. Stumps averaged 9.3 inches (23.6 cm) in diameter (range 1.7 inches to 33.3 inches [4.3 to 84.5 cm]) and 61 years in age (range 38 to 169 years). One year after harvesting, 78% of the oak stumps produced a live sprout. Stump sprout frequency was high for small diameter and young trees, regardless of species. However, sprouting probability declined more rapidly with increasing stump diameter or age for white oak than it did for scarlet oak and black oak. Scarlet oak and black oak produced more (mean = 12 stems) sprouts per stump than white oak (mean = 8 stems). Overstory density (e.g., clearcut vs single-tree gaps) had no detectable effect on oak stump sprouting probability or on the number of sprouts per stump. However, increasing overstory density reduced the height of the tallest stem in each stump sprout clump. The tallest stem within a sprout clump averaged 2.8 feet (0.85 m) in the single-tree selection treatment compared to 4.0 feet (1.2 m) in the clearcut treatment. Sprouting potential, height of the dominant sprout, and sprout clump density decreased with increasing stump diameter and tree age for all species regardless of overstory density.


Tree Damage
Contact: Johann Bruhn
Start Date: January 1992
Status: Ongoing


Woody Vegetation
Contact: Shannon Ehlers
Start Date: January 1992
Status: Ongoing

The MOFEP woody vegetation project is an attempt to quantify the effects of even-age, uneven-age, and no forest management on the woody species composition and structure of a mature second growth oak-hickory-pine forest in the Southeast Missouri Ozarks. Data was collected on 648, 0.5 acre cluster plots across 9 sites (772-1271 ac.) Pre-treatment data was collected from October 1990 through September 1992 (except 3 added plots) and again from May 1994 through January 1996. The MOFEP timber sale (harvest treatments) occurred in 1996. Post-treatment data was collected from the fall of 1997 into the spring of 1998 and again in the fall of 2001 through early spring of 2002.

Data collected on tagged trees >= 4.5 in dbh included species, dbh, crownclass, decay classes (for snags and blowdowns), tree cavities, and post-harvest tree fates. Live tree data was collected on 4, 0.05 ac subplots (species and dbh) for trees 1.5 <= X < 4.5 in dbh and 4, 0.01 ac subplots (species and dbh or sizeclass) for trees at least 1 m height and < 1.5 in dbh. Coverage and volume data was collected on coarse woody debris in 4, 56.5 ft transects.

Detailed data tree height, merchantable volume, Girard form class, stem mapping and crown volume was collected on a subset of 15 overstory trees (>= 4.5 in dbh) per plot referred to as the height trees.

Competition data referred to as the canopy mapping study were collected on a subset of 0.05 ac suplots where all of the live stems >= 1 m height were mapped and data collected to calculate crown height and volume.

Tree grades were collected on merchantable trees with a dbh >= 9 inches prior to the MOFEP timber sale.


MOFEP Completed Projects

Armillaria
Contact:Johann Bruhn
Start Date: January 1992
Status: Completed

This project integrates the relationships between forest overstory vegetation susceptibility and vulnerability to Armillaria root disease, Armillaria species population biology and dynamics, features of the physical environment (geography and associated microclimate), forest management activities, and resulting dynamics of forest structure and decline. Our project is using the experimental treatments and ecological variation represented on the MOFEP sites to explain major interrelationships among these forces. Survey studies to detect initial tree, stand and fungal population/biodiversity patterns and changes over time following treatments represent the baseline conditions from which manipulative experimental studies and predictive models (e.g., cellular automata) will be constructed to explain existing patterns and detected changes in stand structure and Armillaria populations.


Carbon and Sulfur Cycling
Contact: Henry Spratt
Start Date: January 1992
Status: Completed

The purpose of this research is to determine potential effects of large-scale disturbances on surface soil microbial communities and the nutrient transformations they drive. Specifically, changes in surface soil carbon, sulfur, or exchangeable base (i.e., Mg and K) pools, along with indicators of microbial activity have been studied associated with timber management techniques as applied in the Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project. This work has implications to the long-term sustainability of surface soil microbial communities responsible for nutrient cycling, including lignocellulose and organic sulfur compounds, in habitats managed by clear-cutting or (possibly) by selective harvest, and potentially to ecosystem-level nutrient cycling.
Objectives of this research include:
1. To determine the relatively short-term effect of clear cutting and selective timber harvest on soil sulfur constituents and total carbon in surface soils of selected MOFEP plots.
2. To assess any changes in indicators of soil microbial activity (e.g., biosynthesis of organic sulfur or catabolism of lignocellulose) due to clear cutting or selective timber harvest in surface soils of selected MOFEP plots.
3. To determine any linkages between soil nutrient cation content and organic sulfur content in surface soils of selected MOFEP plots.


Carbon Flux
Contact: Jianye Xu
Start Date: July 2002
Status: Completed June 2011

Terrestrial ecosystems have been hypothesized to serve as a sink for atmospheric carbon(Tans et al. 1990, Denning et al. 1995, Walker & Steffen 1997, Fan et al. 1998) as well as to account for a large, but as yet unaccountable pool within the global carbon budget( Turner et al. 1995). In paticular, terrestrial forests have been suggested as the primary sink for this 'missing' carbon. So compelling is the evidence for this relationshop that menaging forsts for carbon credits has been proposed and is being exercised in many public and private sectors. However, we have little ability to predict changes in carbon flux for most foreset management scenarios and thus can not optimze management plans across diverse lanscapes that characterize typical forest ecosystems. The proposed study will explore lanscape-level carbon flux and storage in the Southeast Ozark forest landscape (MOFEP compartments) in relation to alternative management scenarios and natural disturbances for different ecological land types. Our central hypothesis is that attributes of the land mosaic (i.e., types and spatial arragements of ecosystems) determine the cumulative NEP (net ecosystem productivity) of disturbed landscapes, and thus define the magnitude of carbon sequestration within the system. Such an integrative hypothesis can not be addressed solely by experimental methods. Thus we will use models of ecosystem processes and landscape diturbances to inegrate field measurements with remote sensing imagery. In brief, field measurments will include soil respiration, photosynthesis, LAI, above ground net primary productivity, litter fall, woody rediues, soil carbon and nitrogen, decomposition, microclimate, and foliar nitrogen. These data will be used to parameterize an ecosystem model (PnET) and a decomposition model (GENDEC), to simulate site processes. These site models will be placed into an explicit spatial context defined by previously processed Landsat Imagery, to provide a predictive, landscape model. This combination of experimental, modeling and remote sensing techniques, will define a hierarchical, physiological-to-landscape scale framework needed to predict carbon flux for the diverse, forested landscape of the SE Ozarks.


Economics
Contact: Tom Treiman
Start Date: January 1997
Status: Completed

The purpose of this project is to determine the long-term economic sustainability of the even-aged, uneven-aged and control treatments on the MOFEP research sites. Various measures of harvest quality and quantity are made and simulations are made of tree growth, regeneration and harvest into the future.


Forest History
Contact: Richard Guyette
Start Date: July 1996
Status: Completed

Forest history is a critical link in understanding the treatment effects of harvest methods. The harvesting of MOFEP study sites is a rare opportunity to gain a long-term perspective on Ozark forests and their response to disturbances. The major objective of the forest history project is to document forest disturbances and their ecological consequences. Information about tree growth, climate, wildland fire, disturbance, and human-environmental interactions can be salvaged from recently cut trees, woody remnants, and increment cores. This information is used in the interpretation of treatment effects and in assessing the overall ecological role of present and past disturbances on MOFEP flora and fauna. This project uses a dendrochronological approach to provide a long-term perspective on ecological processes and silvicultural harvesting systems. Specific objectives of this project are to: 1) construct fire history chronologies from dated fire scars, 2) construct disturbance histories for the MOFEP sites, 3) quantify anthropogenic variables and effects at the MOFEP sites, 4) use disturbance, landscape, and human variables to examine long and short-term ecosystem responses, 5) examine climate-ecosystem interactions via growth increments of organisms.


Genetics
Contact: Victoria Sork
Start Date: January 1992
Status: Completed

Three major approaches:

1) Mating system describes how gametes unite to form the next generation. We examine here mating systems in 3 species of forest trees for effects of forest structure and aspect on multilocus outcrossing rate, single locus outcrossing rates, parental relatedness, and the probability that 2 randomly selected individuals share paternity. Fruits were collected from randomly selected individuals and genotyped for analysis.

2) This study examines patterns of genetic diversity and structure in 3 commonly occurring tree species. Leaf material from randomly selected individuals was collected from 48 individuals in each of 4 subpopulations in all 9 MOFEP sites. Electrophoresis separated isozyme alleles at a number of loci to generate multilocus genotypes for analysis.

3)Alteration of forest landscapes can result in changes in pollen dispersal patterns for forest canopy tree species. In this project we examine the pollen pool structure as measured from chloroplast microsatellite loci (CPSSR) in shortleaf pine across the MOFEP landscape. Our specific objectives are: (1) determine spatila heterogeneity in pollen pools, (2) examine the influences of local stand structure (both hetero- and conspecific) on pollen pool composition, and (3) ascertain whether pollen pool heterogeneity is related to distance between sample sites.


Lichens
Contact: Doug Ladd
Start Date: January 1996
Status: Completed June 1997

Little is known about the composition, dynamics, diversity, and disturbance responses of lichens in the Midwest, particularly in the Ozark Highlands. A comprehensive study of lichen vegetation on the MOFEP compartments was initiated in 1996. In addition to floristic surveys of all nine compartments, lichens were sampled at a subset of previously established vegetation plots. Corticolous lichens were sampled at basal, mid-bole and canopy levels of trees. Line transects were sampled for lichens growing on various ground layer substrates. Results indicated a diverse and well distributed lichen biota in all MOFEP compartments, with nearly 300 taxa documented. There was a high degree of similarity in lichen species composition and distribution patterns among the nine compartments. Corticolous (tree) and saxicolous (rock) substrates supported the highest lichen diversity, with 166 and 105 taxa identified, respectively. Approximately 10% of the species encountered occurred on multiple substrates. Patterns in composition and richness were highly correlated with vertical location on the tree and, to a lesser extent, tree species. There was no strong relationship between tree size and lichen richness or composition, with a few exceptions related to bark traits. On all but the youngest canopy branches, macrolichens exhibited high relative importance values compared to the higher overall diversity of crustose taxa. We identified guilds of species associated with microhabitat. These included a suite of crustose taxa on small canopy branches, a diverse group of foliose taxa on tree trunks, and a suite of taxa, including gelatinous lichens, found on tree bases. Lichens are a significant component of biological diversity in the Ozarks, and we recommend that forest management strategies include considerations for functional assemblages of lichen biota.


MOFEP Integration Study
Contact: Wendy Gram
Start Date: January 1996
Status: Completed June 2004

To rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of management treatments for Missouri Ozark forests, we must examine treatment effects at a variety of temporal, spatial, and ecological scales. Analyses of post-treatment data have demonstrated that responses to management treatments differ among focal organisms and ecological scales (Gram et al. 2001, Second MOFEP Symposium Proceedings). Thus, the main objective of my study is to integrate MOFEP data across different spatial and temporal scales to evaluate the effects of the experimental treatments. With data representing MOFEP sites five to eight years after treatment, I plan to synthesize response patterns across MOFEP study organisms to assess the overall effects of this first treatment. This integration also helps identify shortcomings in data collection and scale-issues for the MOFEP community to address as research continues.

My second objective is continued collaboration and consultation with other MOFEP investigators. I have been working closely with the bird project to compile the pre- and post-treatment data for all bird species to analyze the short-term effects of forest management on the bird community. We currently have a manuscript in press at Conservation Biology and we are analyzing data for two additional papers. I have also collaborated with Rochelle Renken to analyze the pre- and post-treatment herpetofauna data; a manuscript is currently under review at Conservation Biology. These collaborations facilitate the analysis and publication of MOFEP results in a timely manner. With six years of experience in both working with most MOFEP data sets and developing efficient working relationships with project investigators, I expect to continue contributing manuscripts to both the management and basic ecological literature as well as presenting results at professional meetings.


Microclimate
Contact: Jiquan Chen
Start Date: January 1994
Status: Completed May 1998


Plethodontial Salamanders
Contact: Laura Herbeck
Start Date: January 1992
Status: Completed


Soft Mast
Contact: Elizabeth Olson
Start Date: January 1994
Status: Completed October 2001

To determine the effects of uneven-aged and even-aged timber management on abundance and production of plants that produce soft mast.


Soils
Contact: Dennis Meinert
Start Date: January 1992
Status: Completed


White Oak Acorns
Contact: Robert Cecich
Start Date: January 1992
Status: Completed


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