Date of Graduation
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Wildlife and Fisheries Resources
James T. Anderson.
Exotic, Japanese bush honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.; Caprifoliaceae) are tied to a variety of impacts on wildlife and ecosystems. Morrow's honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii) has become a persistent invader in eastern North America. We organized a restoration initiative at Fort Necessity National Battlefield (FONE), Pennsylvania, USA from 2004--2010. Concurrently, we studied the consumption of Morrow's honeysuckle fruits by small mammals from October--November 2009 and July--August 2010, and determined habitat variables that affected visitation rate to foraging stations. Areas of FONE were invaded by Morrow's honeysuckle after the land had been cleared for agriculture, and routine mowing ceased in the mid-1980s. Our restoration goals were to control honeysuckle and restore native vegetation with a plan to promote both early-successional habitat and mimic the historical conditions from the mid-1700s. Treatment and reference sites were established, and treatment sites received a combination of yearly mowing and broad-spectrum herbicides from October 2006--August 2010. The vegetation and vertebrate communities were monitored pre-removal from 2004--2006, and throughout the restoration from 2007--2010.;Our control techniques were highly effective at reducing the presence of Morrow's honeysuckle in the treatment area. The percent cover of Morrow's honeysuckle declined dramatically from 2005--2010. No direct, short-term adverse impacts on the monitored vegetation and vertebrate communities occurred. In fact, most species varied as a function of time over the study, rather than because of the presence or removal of Morrow's honeysuckle. We found that small mammals were better indicators of changes in the vegetation community than were songbirds. Competitive interactions between small mammals appeared to produce an indirect negative effect of restoration. Overall, our restoration efforts were successful at controlling Morrow's honeysuckle with minimal impact on the monitored communities.;When compared to native soft mast, Morrow's honeysuckle was generally less consumed by white-footed mice (P. leucopus). Honeysuckle fruits had significantly less protein (0.66%) and lipids (0.67%) than all natives. Morrow's honeysuckle had one of the highest moisture contents, which was important in the use of its fruits. Despite high moisture content, Morrow's fruits are still lacking key nutrition, likely leading to its overall low consumption. Total energy always distinguished the highest selected fruits: black cherry (P. serotina) (0.45 kcal), and common dewberry (R. flagellaris) (0.36). Morrow's honeysuckle creates monocultures that exclude natives, which are the more nutritious and utilized food items. This may force small mammals to forage longer, or travel further distances with the possibility of increasing their risk of predation. This result corresponds to our finding that high visitation rate to foraging stations was negatively associated with shrub coverage in fields. The most common shrub in the field was Morrow's honeysuckle, found to be the closest shrub to 85% of stations. Since honeysuckle is less nutritious and a lesser-used food item, animals would lose energetic profit if they continued to feed in areas of honeysuckle, and it likely explains why they do not often forage in dense honeysuckle areas.
Rose, Charnee Lee, "Evaluating the Effects of Morrow's Honeysuckle Control on Vertebrate and Vegetation Assemblages, and Small Mammal Foraging Ecology at Fort Necessity National Battlefield" (2011). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 3336.