restricted access Community response to false hellebore management: implications for harvest

We revisited test plots 18 y posttreatment to analyze the effectiveness of eradication treatments (tilling, herbicide, mow, and re-mow) of false hellebore (Veratrum californicum Durand [Liliaceae]) in order to project the response of false hellebore populations to similar disturbances caused by harvest techniques. Our study suggests that a lengthy recovery time after rhizome harvest is necessary for false hellebore populations, which necessitates a harvest strategy similar in time frame to timber management rather than typical herbaceous plant community recovery. We found that mow and re-mow treatments (similar to vegetative harvesting techniques) have little effect on wild populations of false hellebore or the associated understory species. Tilling treatments (similar to rhizome harvesting techniques) reduced false hellebore population dramatically, with little recovery taking place after 18 y. Tilled plots significantly increased in early-seral and invasive species composition. Small block or narrow strip harvesting may increase success of wild false hellebore recovery into harvested zones.