Deer Exclosure Study - Grassland - 2017 resampling

2020-06-01T17:41:51Z (GMT) by Kimberly Komatsu

This study took place at the Konza Prairie Biological Station (hereafter Konza), a Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site located in the tallgrass prairie ecosystem of the Flint Hills in northeastern Kansas, USA. Konza is divided into many replicate watersheds, where there have been prescribed fires at set frequencies (i.e., burn regimes) since 1971 (Knapp et al. 1998). We conducted this experiment in the uplands of watersheds K1B, 4B, and K4A, which are accessible to deer, as well as invertebrate and small mammalian herbivores. Watershed K1B has been burned annually since 1988. Watersheds 4B and K4A have been burned every four years since 1975 and 1985, respectively. All three watersheds (K1B, 4B, and K4A) were burned in spring 2017, prior to the sampling for this experiment in summer 2017.

One 30 m x 30 m deer exclosure fence was established in the uplands of each watershed in 1996; here, we denote each fenced area and an equally sized area adjacent to each fence as ‘plots' (6 plots total). Fences consist of 2.2 m tall wooden posts connected with strands of barbed wire spaced 0.25 m apart (Bakker et al. 2009). Prior to the erection of the fences, vegetation across the plots was relatively homogenous (Knapp et al. 1998). Plant species richness was assessed as the total number of distinct species in each 30 m x 30 m plot. We also assessed percent cover of all plant species using a modified Daubenmire method (Daubenmire 1968) to the nearest 1 % within six haphazardly placed 1 m2 subplots within each plot (36 subplots total). Data provided here are percent cover estimates for species within 1 m2 plots inside and outside deer removal exclosures located within three watersheds at Konza. Where plot is recorded as 999, the species was identified within the plot, but not within the six subplots.

Data Structure:

(1) watershed - Konza watershed unit within which sampling occurred;

(2) exclosure - was the data collected inside or outside of the deer exclosure; inside indicates deer do not have access to the plot;

(3) plot - replicate 1 m2 plot the species were observed in;

(4) sppnum - numeric code given to plant species at Konza;

(5) genus - genus of the identified species;

(6) spp - species of the identified species;

(7) functional_group - growth form the identified species belongs to (graminoid, forb, woody);

(8) cover - percent cover of species within 1m2 plot;

(9) year - year in which sampling occurred;

(10) date - date on which sampling occured;

(11) comper - who collected the data.