TitleEcological functions and consequences of cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) agriculture in the pinelands of New Jersey
NameWen, Ai (author), Ehrenfeld, David W (chair), Ehrenfeld, Joan G (co-chair), Morin, Peter J (internal member), Zampella, Robert A (outside member), DeVito, Emile D (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectEcology and Evolution,
Cranberry industry--Environmental aspects--New Jersey--Pine Barrens,
Wetland agriculture--Environmental aspects--New Jersey--Pine Barrens,
Abandoned farms--Environmental aspects--New Jersey--Pine Barrens
DescriptionThis dissertation examined the immediate and long-term ecological influences of cranberry farming on the surrounding fauna and flora. The first chapter presents a field study examining anuran usage of water bodies within active and newly abandoned cranberry farms. Overall, anuran species exhibited varied preferences for habitats based on their different hydrological requirements. Rana clamitans and Bufo woodhousii fowleri showed higher density in active than abandoned farms, probably due to different levels of predation. R. clamitans also showed a prolonged breeding period in active farms, coinciding with the more stable water level managed by irrigation. R. virgatipes and R. sphenocephala preferred abandoned farms, probably because their overwinter and breeding behavior coincided with intensive farming activities. This chapter demonstrated that anurans selectively utilize diverse water bodies within cranberry farms and human cultivation activities can positively or negatively influence their survival. In the second chapter, I conducted two greenhouse experiments to examine cranberry farming’s short-term legacy effect on the seed bank composition and germination in newly abandoned cranberry farms. The first experiment showed that the human modified post-agricultural edaphic conditions, including soil hydrology and soil depth, were the major factors affecting the seed bank viability, composition and density of germinated plants. For restoration purposes, flooding can increase germination density but does not affect species composition. The second experiment showed that weed colonies and cranberry remnant prevented seed bank germination. This chapter demonstrated the legacy effect from cranberry cultivation on the initial stage of succession. The last chapter examined cranberry farming’s long-term legacy on the structural development of vegetation and the composition of anuran communities. Even after half a century, the vegetation’s coverage and mean height still exhibited linear changes along the bog sequence in cranberry farms, coinciding with the gradual hydrological changes in bog units from upstream to downstream. The densities of anuran species that prefer permanent waters were negatively correlated with vegetation coverage and height. However, model selection showed vegetation or anuran variables did not exhibit clear variation among farms, despite decades-long differences in their ages since abandonment. This result indicated agriculture’s legacy effect during later succession was not mitigated by time.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Ai Wen
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.