Willows (Salix) are important riparian plants and often used to indicate riparian condition. Many herbivores feed on willows, but there is limited information about willow browsing by wildlife except in national parks. This study was conducted to estimate wild ungulate herbivory of willow on two US Forest Service allotments in northern Wyoming and to compare these values to published estimates for national parks. We also compared total annual and seasonal willow utilization by wildlife between sites dominated by willows of different heights. The effects of height category, site, and season on willow utilization were determined with a repeated measures analysis. Four permanent willow utilization transects were established at each of six study sites per allotment on two allotments, in communities supporting planeleaf (Salix planifolia Pursh), Wolf's (Salix wolfii Bebb), Drummond's (Salix drummondiana Barratt ex Hook.), or Eastwood's (Salix eastwoodiae Cock. ex A. Heller) willow. Twenty-five twigs were marked per transect (distributed across 6–12 plants/transect). Lengths of marked twigs were recorded on four dates to estimate willow utilization for winter/spring, summer, and late summer/fall periods. Total annual willow utilization on one allotment (53%) was similar to published estimates for national parks (P = 0.0864), whereas utilization for the other allotment (58%) was greater (P = 0.0421) than national parks. Seasonal patterns of willow utilization differed among sites within height categories (P < 0.001). Total annual willow utilization by wildlife also varied by site within height category (P = 0.0165) but was not greater for short (43–56%) versus tall (59–63%) willow communities. Wildlife browsing of willow in this study equaled, or exceeded, estimates for national parks, where concern has been expressed about willow community conditions. Generalizations about willow utilization for tall and short willow communities are problematic. Management decisions should be based on site-specific information as opposed to generalizations.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 62 • No. 5