The study has two major components, a large-scale observational analysis (see Landscape Thresholds) and an experiment in the Coast Range of Oregon.
The experiment is designed to examine the effects of treatments associated with planting new forests in plantations. Once trees are planted, usually competing vegetation is controlled with herbicides. However, that competing vegetation may be especially valuable for wildlife at many levels. The experiment relies on a control and three levels of herbicide application. In each treatment area, we are observing plant, bird, invertebrate, and deer and elk abundance.
We’ve also built fences in each treatment area to examine the effects of removing deer and elk. In half of the fenced area, a net also excludes birds. These fenced areas allow us to examine trophic interactions between birds, insects and plants as well as between deer and elk and plants. Furthermore, it will help us understand how the herbicides interact with ungulate browse in their effects on tree growth.
We have 8 study blocks in the Oregon Coast Range, each of which includes a full array of treatments control, light, moderate, and intensive herbicide application.