Effects of Fuel-Reduction Techniques on Vegetative Composition of Piedmont Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Communities: Preliminary Results of the National Fire and Fire Surrogate Study

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Abstract

As part of the National Fire and Fire Surrogate (NFFS) Study, prescribed burning, thinning, and a combination of burning and thinning were conducted in loblolly ( Pinus taeda L.) and shortleaf pine ( P. echinata Mill.) communities in the Piedmont of South Carolina to test the effectiveness of these treatments for fuel reduction. Treatment implementation resulted in an overall reduction of overstory basal area from 28 to 19 m 2 ha -1 , with the largest reduction (10.8 m 2 ha -1 ) occurring in the thin-plus-burn treatment. Stem densities decreased by 6332 stems ha -1 in the burn-only treatment, 3330 stems ha -1 in the thin-only treatment, and 5288 stems ha -1 for the thin-plus-burn treatment. Percent cover of understory vegetation differed significantly between burned plots (burn-only and thin-plus-burn) and unburned plots (thin-only and control). Nonmetric multidimensional scaling indicated three distinct vegetative groups. Identification of distinctive communities created by fuel-reduction treatments will help explain changes that may occur in other components of the NFFS Study, such as fuels, fire behavior, and wildlife habitat.

  • Citation: Phillips, Ross J.; Waldrop, Thomas A.; Chapman, Gregg L.; Mohr, Helen H.; Callaham, Mac A.; Flint, Charles T., Jr. 2004. Effects of Fuel-Reduction Techniques on Vegetative Composition of Piedmont Loblolly-Shortleaf Pine Communities: Preliminary Results of the National Fire and Fire Surrogate Study. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–71. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 44-47

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