Sustainable Method of Protecting Western Redcedar from Deer Browsing

2016 Annual Report for FW14-007

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2014: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2016
Region: Western
State: Arizona
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Andrej Romanovsky
Tree Fever Farm: Forestland Conservation and Development

Sustainable Method of Protecting Western Redcedar from Deer Browsing

Summary

The western redcedar (WRC) research plantation was established and maintained. All research and educational objectivities were met, as specified below. Three flyers were created and two articles published.

Objectives/Performance Targets

We had two objectives for the reported period:

Objective 1. Winter 2015-16. To determine whether the new protection method decreases mortality of WRC seedlings, as compared to the traditional method and to no protection. To reach this objective, the following activities were performed.

(1) August 3 and November 27, 2015: The Farmer/Principal investigator (PI) and Nancy Romanovsky (volunteer, Tree Fever Farm) conducted mortality surveys of all 17 plots. Protection modes did not affect the mortality rate of WRC seedlings.

Objective 2. 2014-16. Work to decrease deer-browsing-independent WRC mortality. To reach this objective, the following activities were performed.

(1) March 2-3, 2015: Piles of wood debris were burned by West Satsop Contracting.

(2) November 18, 2016: PI purchased herbicide to treat bigleaf maple sprouts on the WRC research plantation during the summer of 2016.

(3) March 2015-March 2016: PI and Nancy Romanovsky inspected all plots every few months. All western wild cucumber weeds were removed by hand. Tubes and stakes were adjusted, repaired, or replaced as needed.

(4) March 2016: Due to severe damage to plots 10 and 11 by mountain beaver or woodrats, Dr. Georg Ziegltrum, Washington Forest Protection Association (Technical Advisor), visited the research plantation and investigated the damage. The nearby wood debris pile was burned by House Brothers Construction.

Accomplishments/Milestones

In addition to meeting our objectives, the following activities were conducted and the following results achieved.

(1) March 3-15, 2015: The WRC research plantation was established, and each tree was marked with a wire flag: blue (WRC co-planted with Sitka spruce), red (WRC planted alone), or yellow (WRC protected with a Vexar tube). This work was performed by: Four Seasons Forestry Services; PI; Dave Houk, forester at Grays Harbor Conservation District (Consultant on this project); and Nancy Romanovsky.

(2) June 1-20, 2015: The WRC plantation was divided into 17 plots, and each plot was inventoried and marked with flags, as well as metal signs with numbers. Each tree was marked with a paint mark on the ground. A complete inventory was checked twice. This work was performed by PI, Dave Houk, and Nancy Romanovsky.

(3) June 21-28, 2015: A quantitative survey of WRC damage extent was conducted in 10 plots by PI and Washington tree farmers who volunteered for this project: Nancy and Stephan Romanovsky and Serena and Devon Cueva (all representing Tree Fever Farm) and Kay and Steve Townsend (Coburg Tree Farm). The tree farmers were recruited through the Washington Farm Forestry Association (WFFA).

(4) August 2015-March 2016: Due to the high extent of damage attributed to deer browsing, six plots (# 12-17) were removed from the research plantation, and most unprotected WRC seedlings in these plots were tubed. These plots became observational plots. Dr. Georg Ziegltrum visited the research plantation, investigated trees damaged by deer and, together with PI, worked with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to arrange for patrol of the research plantation by master hunters in December.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

(1) Spring 2015: PI worked with Dave Houk and Todd Bates, Grays Harbor College (GHC) Forestry Instructor, to inform GHC students about this project and attempted to recruit volunteers for surveying the research plantation. Two flyers were distributed by Mr. Bates among GHC students.    

(2) June 2015: PI worked with WFFA to inform Washington tree farmers about this project and recruit volunteers for surveying the research plantation. A flyer was created and posted on the WFFA website: http://www.wafarmforestry.com/sites/default/files/chapter_images/GraysHarbor/2015%20Tree%20Fever%20Flier-15-6-22-28.pdf. Two volunteers were recruited and connections with many tree farmers interested in this project were established.

(3) February-April 2015: PI worked on an editorial about this research project for the journal Temperature (Romanovsky AA. Protecting western redcedar from deer browsing—with a passing reference to TRP channels. Temperature 2(2): 142-149, 2015. DOI: 10.1080/23328940.2015.1047078. Available for free at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23328940.2015.1047078).

(4) September-November 2016: PI worked on an invited article about this research project for the special issue of the Northwest Woodlands magazine on riparian management (Romanovsky AA. Solving a riparian puzzle: One tree farmer’s experience. Northwest Woodlands 32(1): 24-27, 2016. Available for free at http://www.oswa.org/images/docs/nwwoodlands/NWWWinter2016web.compressed.pdf).

Collaborators:

Dave Houk

[email protected]
Service Forester
Grays Harbor Conservation District
330 Pioneer Avenue West
Montesano, WA 98563
Office Phone: (360) 249-8532
Dr. Georg Ziegltrum

[email protected]
Technical Advisor
Washington Forest Protection Association
724 Columbia St. NW
Suite 250
Olympia, WA 98501
Office Phone: 3607059290