FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (2024)

FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (1)


FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (2)

FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (3)


Marc D. Abrams and David J. Gibson’

Abstract-The purpose of this review is 10 synthesize a long-term body of research dealing with fireexclusion effects on tallgrass prairie and gallery forest communities on Konzn Prairie in eastern Kansas.Upland and lowland prairie communities burned in spring at intervals ranging from 1-k 1 years wereconsistently dominated (70-N percent cover) by .Andropogon&. Witit this increasing intervalbetween fires other dominant warn-season grasses, A. scouarius and SorEhastrum nutans, had decreasedcover, whereas fo&? and woody species had increased cover. Aboveground biomass was higher on anannually bumed versus unburned lowland prairie, due to stimulated graminoid production. Sites unburnedfor 10 or more years were converting to woodlands dominated by Juniperus, Ulmus. Gleditsil\pnd m.Older gallery forests occurred in stream channels and ravines and were comprised of overstory Quercus andccllis a n d understory ~etiseE&s&andf~lery f o r e s t s o n Konvl P r a i r i e d r a m a t i c a l l yincreased from the time of European settlement (18.50) to present; this has been attributed to decreased tirefrequency and intensity in the region. With continued fire exclusion this century forther succession in theseforests has caused oak replacement by more shade tolerant species.

IiWRODUCTIONEastern Kansas receives approximately 33 inches (83.5centimeters) of precipitation annually, which is enough tosustain forest vegetation on all but the most xeric sites.Historically, however, the region has been dominated byAndropogon Sornhastrum Ykkxm t&grass prairie. nforest vegetation does occur it is usually restricted to thinbands along ravines and stream channels, called galleryforests. It is well recognized that frequent fire in the regionlimits woody vegetation expansion and helps to maintaintallgrass prairie (Abrams 1988~). Moreover, the composition,structure and productivity of tallgrass communities can varydramatically with relatively small changes in life frequency(Abrams and Hulbert 1987, Gibson 1988). FollowingEuropean settlement in the mid-1800s, the number, extent andintensity of fire most likely decreased in eastern Kansas,resulting in changes in the ecological characteristics of prairieand gallery forests in the region (Bragg and Hulbert 1976;Abrams 1986). Similar changes in woody and prairievegetation occurred in eastern Oklahoma after decades of firesuppression (Collins and Adams 1983).

Since the late 1970s the effects of fire and fire exclusion intallgrass prairie and gallery forest communities have beenstudied on Konza Prairie in northeast Kansas. Studiesconducted in one or both community types include fire effectson plant species composition, structure and productivity. Thepurpose of this review is to synthesize these studies withspecial reference to the effects of fire exclusion the grasslandand forest communities on Konza Prairie.

‘Assistant Professor of Forest Ecology/Physiology, School of ForestResources, The Pennsylvania State University; Assistant Professor ofPlant Ecology, Department of Biology, University of West Florida.

EONZA PRAIRIEKonza Prairie Research Natural Area is 3,487 hectares oftallgrass prairie habitat in Riley and Geary counties in theFlint Hills of northeast Kansas. The Flint Hills are along thewestern border of the tallgrass prairie province and because ofthe steep and rocky topography include the only extensivearea of unplowed tallgrass prairie in North America. Galleryforests in the region are dominated by Quercus spp. (oak) and@& occidentalis (hackberry) and range from about 10 to300 meters wide in protected portions in the prairie interior.

Specific methods for prairie and gallery forest data collectionand analysis can be found in papers by the authors citedhereinafter. Prairie composition and productivity studies wereconcentrated on 10-100 hectare water&& units, burned inmid- to late April at various intervals since 1972. Eachwatershed contains relatively broad, level upland (Florencecherty silt loam or cherty silty clay loam soils) and lowerslope (Tully silty clay loam soils) sites. Florence soils arerelatively thin, well-drained and have numerous ch&fragments in the top soil, whereas Tully soils are deep, gentlysloping and were formed from thick colluvial and alluvialdeposits, with few rocks (Jantz and others 1975). Because theupland Florence soils store less water than Tully soils, plantspresent become water-stressed sooner during dry periods thanplants on deep Tully soils (Abrams and others 1986).

The climate of the study area is continental, characterized byhot summers, cold winters, moderately strong surface windsand relatively low humidities (Brown and Bark 1971). Theaverage length of the frost-free season is 180 days. Meanannual temperature was 12.8” C (range = -2.7 to 26.6” C)and mean annual precipitation was 83.5 centimeters based ona 30 year record (1951-1980). Precipitation ranges from 2.1to 13.4 centimeters per month with May and June being thewettest and December- February being the driest months.

FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (4)

Annual precipitation varies greatly and droughts occurfrequently. In northeast Kansas, drought occurred during 38percent of the months between 193 1 and 1968 and of these 11percent were rated severe or extreme (Brown and Bark 197 1).


Presettlement ConditionsAlthough accurate presettlement conditions are not known, itis generally accepted that the tallgrass prairie developed andspread in an environment that included tire at frequentintervals in the range of once every year to once every tenyears (Kucera 1981; Axelrod 1985; Hulbert 1973). In theKansas Flint Hills, frequently burned tallgrass prairie isdominated by big blues&m (Andropogon gerardii) and othertall warm-season grasses (e.g., Andropogon scoparius,Sorghastrum w, and ‘Parhc*msvi~atum).p e c i e salong with a number of forbs, e.g. Solidaeo missouriensis andYemonia baldwinii, occupy the majority of space in thecommunity and are referred to as matrix species (Collins andGibson 1990), whereas a large number of rarer interstitialspecies occupy the spaces, e.g. Ambrosia psilostachva,~tismiciana.

Effect of Fire Exclusion on Species CompositionOn Konza Prairie, studies of permanent plots carried out since1981 (Abrams and Hulbert 1987, Gibson and Hulbert 1987;Gibson 1988) indicate that in the absence of grazing speciesrichness increases with time since fire until approximately 8years, after which richness declines again (Gibson andHulbert 1987; Collins and Gibson 1990). This effect wasonly observed in the context of the long-term study and wasnot necessarily discernible on a yearly basis (table 1). Fireexclusion from the tallgrass prairie allows the build up of asoil seed bank (Abrams 1988a), which along with the moresuitable microsite conditions and heterogeneous communitystructure (Collins and Gibson 1990) results in a more specie+rich community.

Andropoxonperardii is the dominant species (cover = 70-90percent) on Konza Prairie irrespective of fire treatment ortopography (table 1). Nevertheless, the cover of A.scooarius, S. nutans and other warm-season species decreasesignificantly with time since burning (table 1) (Abrams andHulbert 1987; Gibson and Hulbet-t 1987). In contrast,Panicum virpatum showed no response to fire but had highercover on the deeper, moister soil of lowland sites. Cover of

Table 1. CMnwrity and plant species cover da ta (x- percent + s tandarderror) for three unborned and two emual~y burned upland (Florence chertySilt Loam) and louleod (Tul(y s i l t ciay Loam) SOitS 011 Koaza Prairie innortheastern Kaosas in 1984. Valoes f o r e a c h COmunitspec ies followed by the same Let ter are not l

parameter or

* * va lues < 0 .05 percent .sigoificao ly d i f f eren t :

(After Abras and llulbert 1987)

Cmnity dataBuroed

treatsest Lowiand Upland

Tota l spec ies cover burnedanberned

Sped es ri cbness bornedanburned

spec ies / t reatment burnedonbarned

Spec ie s da ta

Andropogon gerardii burnedunburned

A. scomrios burneduobomed

Sorqhastrun nutans bmmedaobmroed

Panicun virgatuq burnedunborned

Poa pratensis burned-uoburned

-Forbs and w o o d y plants-

A s t e r ericoides burnedunburned

Salvia azurea burnedunburned

&mbrosiasilostacha barnedunburned

Artemi si a 1 tldovi ci ana burnedunbureed

Ammha cane$Cefj$ burnedunburned

176.5 + 3.2a1 6 4 . 0 + 6.4a

g.33,’ (),o::. .

46.0 + 2.8a57.0 + 2.ab

8 3 . 5 + 5.la04.5 + 2.2a43.3 t 4.4a

5.4 + 1.4c21.5 + 3.084.4 + l.Oc

1 2 . 5 + 6.h5.6 + 2.4ab0.0 I

2 1 . 9 + C.Ob

1 . 3 + 06a 0 . 5 + 0.3aa.7 + 2.Ob 7.8 + 1.7b

*a 14.1 + 5.0b*a 1.1 + 0.3c

2.8 + I.18 2.5 + l.lalo.2 + 2.3b 8 . 2 + 1.560.1 + *a 0.1 + *a

12.6 + 2.9b a.0 + 1.7b4.4 t 1.9a 1.1 + 0.4b0.3 + 1.6 + 0.56

179.0 + 4.90171.4 + 7.la20.1 + O.Bb21.2 + 0.7654.0 + 0.7a60.3 + 2.4b

80.6 + 2.2a79.6 + 2.5a24.0 + 4.9b8.7 + 1.3c

33.4 + 4.bb3.8 + 0.9c5.6 + 2.lbc1.9 + 0.9c

24.9 :a4.8b

FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (5)

the dominant cool-season grass Poa matens%, :vas notaffected by topography but was greatly reduced by annualburning (table 1). The sensitivity to burning of this and othercool season species is due to the loss of terminal growth fromspring burning (Abrams and Hulbert 1987). Warm-seasonspecies are still dormant during spring burning and do notshow such sensitivity.

Cover of most forb and woody species increased with fireexclusion. Salvia azurea (= 2. pitcherii) and Amotuhacanescens are exceptions to this, with cover beingsignificantly higher on annually burned upland and lowlandsoils, respectively (table 1). Artemisia ludoviciana, Ambrosiapsilostachva and Aster ericoides are the dominant forbs onfire excluded sites. Overall, woody species and forb speciescover increase with time since burning (Abrams and Hulbert1987; Gibson and Hulbert 1987).

Multivariate analyses of species cover (Gibson and Hulbert1987; Gibson 1988) have indicated that the species show anindividualistic response to fire frequency and topographicposition (fig. 1). This indicates that although it is clear thatfire exclusion from the tallgrass prairie leads to an increase in

the cover of many species, especially forbs (table l), the rateof increase varies between species in a manner typical ofsecondary successions (e.g., Pickett 1982). In contrast tosuch typical models however, different species do notsuccessively attain and then lose predominance. Rather, A.

IX%-ardii remhins the dominant species throughout. Slikely a reflection of the fact that given continued fireexclusion, grass dominated prairie is not the end-point of thesuccessional pathway. indeed, studies in Oklahoma indicatean eventual dominance of tallgrass prairie by woodyvegetation after 32 years without fue (Collins and Adams1983).

Sites that are burned every four years show cyclic fluctuationsin community composition, although soil effects and landscapeheterogeneity show a stronger relationship to the plantcommunity (Gibson 1988). Ungrazed prairie maintainedunder such a frequent burning regime on Konza Prairie isconsidered to be perhaps as comparable to presettlementconditions as is possible under present day constraints.Exclusion of fire for three year periods under this regime is,however, sufficient time to allow for an invasion of woodyspecies (Briggs and Gibson, unpublished data).

0 .E

8 0.4



0 . 2

0 . 0



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Years since burning

Fig. 1. Fitted 1st and 2nd degree polynomial regression lines of species distribution along a tire interval gradient identifiedby ordination analysis (Detrended Correspondence Analysis) (Afier Gibson and Hulbert 1987). ANGE = Androoonongerardii; ANSC = & scouarius: SONU = Sorghastrum_-,nutans. PAVI = Pan&urn-virgatumlPOPR = & pm&&+SAA2 = &Jvia azurea; AMPS = Ambrosia osilostachva; ARLU = A&n&$&ludoviciana: AMCA = Amomha rln~vASER = Aster ericoides..

FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (6)

Prairie ProductivitySubstantial differences in the seasonal (1984) production ofaboveground biomass by graminoids and forbs were evidentbetween an annually spring- burned and unburned watershedon lower slopes (fig. 2). Peak standing crop of abovegroundproduction was significantly greater in the burned (430 + 26grams per square meter) than unburned (368 + 31 grams persquare meter) watershed. This difference between burned andunburned lowland prairie is consistent with the results oflong-term studies of productivity on Konza Prairie (Abramsand others 1986; Briggs and others 1989). Peak livegraminoid biomass was also greater in the burned (285 + 20grams per square meter) than unburned (205 + 22 grams persquare meter) site, whereas forb and woody plant biomasswas typically two-three times greater in the unburned(maximum 94 + 15 grams per square meter) than the’burnedwatershed (maximum 45 + 13 grams per square meter).Woody plants, the smallest component of the total,contributed little to total production. Both abovegroundproduction and the live graminoid component showed amid-season peak in late July-early August. In contrast, thebiomass of forbs and woody plants showed little seasonalvariation.

Invasion of Tree Species into Open PrairieWoody species will rapidly invade open prairie in the absenceof fire and grazing, given a sufficient time and local seedsource (Gleason 1913; Weaver 1960; Grimm 1983; Bragg andHulbert 1976). On Konza Prairie, the invasion of trees hasbeen documented since 1971 by direct stem counts on over500 hectares of open prairie. The principal tree species aretriacanthos, Populus deltoides, Salix spp., Ulmus americana,and Celtis occidentalis (table 2). In frequently burned prairie,

, -


unturned- a n n u a l l y t u r n e d ,+x,- - - - -

II /

I Graminoids -\

Forts h Woody PhtsT

,-c--I.- ~ - - - s - - - L -

-LT * I I , I 1 I , , I

J u n elay 13

J u l y J u l y Aw Sept Sept act2 4 3 2 3 12 I 2 1 I1

1984Fig. 2. The seasonal pattern of several components ofaboveground biomass on a burned and unburned lowland soilduring 1984 on Konza Prairie . Total abovegroundproduction includes live graminoids, forbs, and woodyplants, and current year’s dead biomass. Vertical barrepresents + standard error of the mean. (After Abrams andothers 1986).

densities of 2-3 trees per hectare have been recorded, while inareas where tire has been excluded for 10 or more yearsdensities range from 12 to ‘77 trees per hectare. Over a fiveyear period, recruitment of all species into long-termunburned areas is 6-7 individuals per hectare (Briggs and

Table 2. Stem density, species number, diversity and dominant species (> 15percent of total stem density) of tree species in the open prairie on annuallyburned and unburned (> IO years) watersheds on Konra Prairie in 1986.Watersheds N4D and NIB contain large areas of gallery forest along the streamchannels.

Site and Tree Density Number of Diversity Dominant SpeciesBurn (number per Spec i es (Density perTreatment hectare) (H’) hectare)

Annually Burned

1AI D 2;

Unburned (IO years)

6 1.23 Gleditsia t r iacanthos (1 .5 )4 0.94 Poputus deltoides (0.5)

UB 12.0 a 1.68

U C 29.6 9 1.28

N4D 54.7 1 8 1.50

NIB 76.9 1 3 1.20

Salix sp. (4.1)ulmus amer icana (2 .8 )G . t r i acanthos (0 .7 )G . t r iacanthos (12 .6 )P . de l to idas (12 .6 )U. americana (28.5)G . t r i acanthos (8 .8 )U. americana (48.0)Celtis occ identa l is (12 .1 )

FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (7)

Gibson, unpublished data). In areas of open prairie adjacentto stream channel gallery forests, U&americana and C&isoccidentalis are the dominant invasive species. This is areflection of their importance in the gallery forests (Abrams1986). Other gallery forest dominants such as Quercusmuehlenbergii, Q. macrocama and Cercis candensis are onlyoccasionally found in open prairie. The ability of these forestspecies to invade open prairie is related to their physiologicalability to withstand the relatively more xeric open prairiehabitat (Abrams 1988b). In areas further removed from thegallery forests, ftre exclusion leads to an increase in thedensity of species that normally persist in frequently burnedprairie albeit at low densities along the stream margins, i.e.Cleditsia triacanthos. Ponulus deltoides, and %&,spp. (table2). These are short-lived, early successional species commonin river floodplains and stream courses (BeUah and Hutbert1974).

The spatial pattern of species invading open prairie fromwhich fire has been excluded is a function of species dispersalvectors. Species such as Junioems virginiana, which are birddispersed, show a random pattern of distribution. In contrast,wind dispersed species such as Ulmus americana show anaggregated pattern. Juveniles of all species are clusteredaround adults, but at a greater distance for the bird dispersedspecies. At the landscape scale, invading tree species are(except 2. virginiana) assoeialed with the stream channels.

[Group/ [Group2jI 3 4

Upstream of mature gallery forest, attenuated gallery forest,as seen on watersheds N4D and NIB (table 2) represents thefirst stages of gallery forest development in open prairie inthe absence of tire.


Stand Classification and OrdinationEighteen stands were method divided into four ecologicalgroups along the polar ordination axis according toimportance values of the three dominant species (fig. 3).Group 1 (stands 1,2,6,18) included Celtis occidentalis -Quercus macrocama dominated stands, with Q. muehlenbergiiand Ulmus as subdominants. Group 2 stands were dominatedby Q. macrocama (stands 3,9, IO) or Q. macrocama and Q.muehlenbergii (stands 4,7) with lesser amounts of C&is and0&rtms muehlenbergii and Q. macroeama G thedominants and Ulmus and Cercis canadensis the subdominantsin group 3 (stands 5,8,11,12,14,16). Ouercus muehlenbergiidominated stands in group 4 (stands 13,15,17), with Q.macroca~~~ud..lJlmus as subdominants. Standpositions along the polarordination axis were highlycorrelated with increasing slope and decreasing silt, whichmay be interpreted as a moisture gradient from me&e (group1) to xeric (group 4) (Abrams 1986).

lGroup/ (Group/I 8 12 14 17

:, 20 4'0 60 80 I 100 ?

250.Bur Oakm Chin uapin OakA Hat berry9,

Laroup 4

3nn Group 2

1 -I I I I I I I +

1 0 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90Group Mean PO Score

Pig. 3. Polar ordination analysis and the mean importance values for the dominant spe&s in 18 gallery forest stands onKonza Prairie. The four stand types are identified.

FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (8)

12.5Stand 1 0

Fig. 4.Age-diameter datafor gallery forest stand 1on Konza Prairie.(After Abrams 1986).






o Quercus macrocarpa8 Quercus muehlenbergiiA Celtis occidentalis(I Ulmus son.

1 5 30

Age-diameter DataSpecies age-diameter data from two representative galleryforest stands are shown in figures 4 and 5. Stand 1 (fig 4) isa Celtis - Q. macrocarua oak stand in which Q. macrocamastems were the largest and oldest present; most Q.macrocarna were over 40 centimeters diameter and 70 yearsold and formed an even-aged canopy. The size and age of Q.macrocarna was distinct from that of @& which generallyranged from IO-40 centimeters diameter and 23-53 years old.In stand 8, a Q. muehlenbergji - Q. macrocarpa stand, oakspecies dominated the larger and older diameter and ageclasses, whereaa,CeZeJUmus and, to a lesser extent, Celtisdominated the smaller and younger classes (fig 5). A -predominant age gap of 25-35 years separated these speciesgroups.

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OFGALLERY FORESTS ON KONZA PRAIRIEUsing data from the 1858 Original Land Office Survey ofKonza Prairie and aerial photographs taken in 1939 and 1978,it was possible to determine changes in the extent of galleryforests during that LX&year period (fig. 6). In 1858 only twoareas of continuous forest comprising about 5 hectares were

Fig. 5.Age-diameter datafor gallery forest stand 8on Konza Prairie.(After Abrams 1986).

125Stand 8

45 60 75Diameter (cm)


noted. Occasionally, a few trees or scrubby timber andshrubs were recorded in other areas of Konu Prairie,especially along the stream channels and ravine bottoms, butin general this area was described as rolling prairie devoid ofwoody vegetation. The aerial photographs of Konza Prairietaken in 1939 and 1978 were in marked contrast to thatdescribed in 1858. During those periods a large expansion ofthe gallery forests to approximately 111 and 206 hectaresoccurred, respectively, with widespread invasion ofshrublands and forests onto the prairie and development ofshrublands into forests.

The distribution and overall ecology of the gallery forests onKonza Prairie has been greatly affected by anthropogenicfactors. The limited extent of the gallery forests in 1858 wasprobably due to higher tire intensity and frequency prior toEuropean settlement, which started about 1840 (cf. Penfound1962). Following settlement, the number, extent and intensityof fire most likely decreased in the Flint Hills due to roadconstruction, expansion of towns, agriculture, continuouscattle grazing, suppression of wildfire and recommendationsagainst burning during the mid-1900s (Bragg and Hulbert1976; Abrams 1985). Therefore, after settlement forests


l l

l Quercus macrocarpan Quercus muehlenbergii). Celtis occidentalisl Ulmus spp.0 Cercis canadensis

1I I I I I I

1 5 30 45 60 75 90Diameter (cm)

FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (9)


increased rapidly, which suggest that tire, rather than lowprecipitation, limited growth of woody vegetation in northeastKansas (c.f Abrams 1988~).

It appears that a succession from shade intolerant Quercusspecies to the more tolerant Celtis and Cercis is taking place,despite these forests burning at intervals of about 1 I-20 yearssince the mid-l 800s (Abrams 1985; Abrams 1986). Quercus-macrocama and/or Q. muehlcnbergii, which represented thelargest and oldest species in each stand, showed very littlerecruitment into the tree size class for over half a century. Incontrast, numerous Cehis. Ulmus and Cercis trees youngerthan 50 years old were present in these stands. On the mesicsites Celtis may be the future sole dominant. Already ingroup 1 stands (1,2,6,18) Celtis is the dominant despite itbeing younger and smaller than 9. macrocama. On thesteeper, drier sites on Konza Prairie, where Celtis is rare,Cercis may replace p. muehlcnberzii. The s~tature ofCercis does not rule it out as a potential replacement specieshere because the size of Q. muehlcnbergii is limited on these

harsh sites. Even though Ulmus is a dominant reproducer innearly ail stands, its potential as an overstory dominant isprobably limited by the Dutch Elm Disease. This blight wasdiscovered in Kansas in 1957 and has depleted many areaforests of mature elms (Thompson and others 1978). The lessadvanced successional status of the xeric versus mesic forestson Konza Prairie suggests that the rate of succession in xericforests is constrained by harsher environmental conditionsand/or higher fire frequency.

CONCLUSIONSSubtle and gross changes in tire frequency dramatically alterlandscape patterns on Konza Prairie in the absence of grazingAnnual burning treatment resulted in the greatest dominancefor warn-season tallgrass species. Less frequently burnedareas develop progressively less cover of several dominantgrasses. However, cover of Androoogon, gerardii, thedominant prairie grass, remained relatively unchanged inupland and lowland prairie burned at I- to 1 l-year intervals.With increasing intervals between fire, total cover of fort) andwoody species increased. Lowland sites, espectay along -stream channels, unburned for 10 or more years show definitesigns of conversion to forest dominated by Juniperus,OlddiGs. tlhnusnand M. e s t a b I i s h e dwoodlands along stream channels and ravines had overstoriesdominated by ,,nJJcirfllE-anrt~t~~“With Celtis Cercis andf0lmhs imthe &r&&ed&stribution o t h e s egallery forests since 1850 and successional changes resultingin oak replacement by more shade tolerant species areattributed to reduced fire frequency. Thus, our work onKonza Prairie provides further evidence that fire is a primaryfactor controlling community composition, productivity,structure and successional processes in tallgrass ecosystems,and that a frequent fire interval and possibly grazing andperiodic drought are necessary maintain tallgrass prairie in a“‘pristine” condition.

R7E RBE 32 T 10 S,I'

,,P -'.,.

1 1 6

white Pasture '.'' ...s.:I? 33

. ..+-<. 1113. .._

Sham Creek)- 5 4.<=-.

24 19 20

p 7 E





1978R7E R6E

I321 T 10s

!4 1 9 20

Fig. 6. Area] extent of gallery forests and shrublands(shaded) in 1858, 1939 and 1978 on Konza Prairie.


FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (10)

LITERATURE CITEDAbrams, M. D. 1985. Fire history of oak gallery forests in

a northeast Kansas tallgrass prairie. Am. Midl. Nat.114: 188-191.

Abrams, M. D. 1986. Historical development of galleryforests in northeast Kansas. Vegetatio 65:29-37.

Abrams, M. D. 1988a. Effects of burning regime on buriedseed and canopy coverage in a Kansas tallgrass prairie.Southwest. Nat. 33:65-70.

Abrams, M. D. 1988b. Genetic variation in leaf morphologyand plant and tissue water relations during drought inCercis canadensis L. Forest Sci. 34:200-207.

Abrams, M. S. 1988c. Effects of prescribed fire on woodyvegetation in a gallery forest understory in northeasternKansas. Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci. 9:63-70.

Abrams, M.D., A.K. Knapp and L.C. Hulbert. 1986. Aten-year record of above ground biomass in a Kansastallgrass prairie: Effects of tire and topographic position.Amer. J. Bot. 73:1X%1515.

Abrams, M.D. and L.C. Hulbert. 1987. Effect oftopographic position and tire on species composition intallgrass prairie in northeast Kansas. Am. Mid]. Nat.117442-445.

Axelrod, D.I. 1985. Rise of the grassland biome, centralNorth America. Bot. Rev. 51:163-201.

Bellah, R.G. and L.C. Hulbert. 1974. Forest succession onthe Republican River floodplain in Clay County, Kansas.The Southwestern Naturalist 19: 155-166.

Briggs, J.M., T.R. Seas& and D.J. Gibson. 1989.Comparative analysis of temporal and spatial variability inabove-ground production in a deciduous forest and prairie.Holartic Ecology 12:130-136.

Bragg, T.B. and L.C. Hulbert. 1976. Woody plant invasionof unburned Kansas bluestem prairie. J. Range Manage.29:19-24.

Brown, M.J. and L.D. Bark. 1971. Drought in KansasKans. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull. 547. 12~.

Collins, S.E. and D.E. Adams. 1983. Succession ingrasslands: Thirty-two years of change in a centralOklahoma tallgrass prairie. Vegetatio 51:181-190.

Collins, S.L. and D.J. Gibson. 1990. Effects of fire oncommunity structure in tall and mixed-grass prairie. pp.81-98. In: Effects of Fire in Tallgrass Prairie Ecosystems(S. L. Collins and L.L. Wallace, Eds.) Univ. Okla. Press,Norman.

Gibson, D.J. 1988. Regeneration and fluctuation of tallgrassprairie vegetation in response to burning frequency. Bull.Torrey Bot. Club 115:1-12.

Gibson, D.J. and L.L. Hulbert. 1987. Effects of fire,topography and year-to-year climatic variation on speciescomposition in tallgrass prairie. Vegetatio 72:175-185.

Gleason, H.A. 1913. The relation of forest distribution andprairie tires in the middle west. Toreya 13:173-181.

Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the GreatPlains. Univ. Press of Kansas, Lawrence. 1392 p.

Grimm, E.C. 1983. Chronology and dynamics of vegetationchange in the prairie-woodland region of southernMinnesota, U.S.A. New Phytol. 93:311- 350.

Hulbert, L.C. 1973. Management of Konza prairie toapproximate pre-whiteman tire influences, pp. 14-19. InL. C. H&bet-t (ed.), 3rd Midwest Prairie Conf. Proc.,Kansas State University, Manhattan.

Jantz, D. R., R. F. Hamer, H. T. Rowland and D. A. Gier.1975. Soil survey of Riley county and part of Gearycounty, Kansas, U. S. Dep. Agric. Soil Conserv. Serv.71 p.

Kucera, C.L. 1981. Grasslands and fire, pp. 90-l 11. In H.A. Mooney, T. M. Bonnicksen, N. L. Christensen, J. E.Lotan and W. A. Reiners (eds.), Fire regimes andecosystem properties, USDA For. Serv. Gen. Tech. Rep.WO- 26.

Penfound, W.T. 1962. The savanna concept in Oklahoma.Ecology 43:774- 775. ,

Pickett, S.T.A. 1982. Population patterns through twentyyears of old field succession. Vegetatio 49:45-59.

Thompson, H.E., W.G. Willis and R.A. Keen. 1978.Controlling Dutch Elm Disease. Kansas State Univ.Agric. Exp. Sta. Bull. 626, 16 p.

Weaver, J.E. 1960. Flood plain vegetation of the centralMissouri Valley and contacts of woodland with prairie.Ecol. Monogr. 30:37&k

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Jon E. Keeley’

Abshact-Two reproductive modes present in chaparral shrubs are affected very differentiy by fire. Somespecies, called “tire-recruiters,” are dependent upon fire for seedling establishment. These species havecontributed to the notion that the chaparral community is dependent upon tire for rejuvenation. In theabsence of fire, chaparral is often described in pejorative terms which imply that long unburned conditionsrepresent an unhealthy state. However, many shrub species, called “fire-persisters,” do not establishseedlings after fire, rather they require long fire-free periods in order to establish seedlings. These speciesarc vigorous resprouteq not only after fire, but throughout their lifespan. Older stands of chapanal arecontinually rejuvenated by recruitment of new resprouts and seedlings of these fire-resister species. It issuggested that the long-term stability and diversity of chap-1 requires a mosaic of tire frequencies.

INTRODUCTIONCalifornia chaparral is considered a “fire-type” vegetationbased on the fact that all species are resilient to the modemfire regime of tires every few decades (Keeley and Keeley1988). Resilience of the vegetation is reflected in therelatively minor changes in community composition resultingfrom fire. Species present before fire return rapidlyafterwards, either regenerating aboveground parts from basalresprouts or by seedling establishment.

In addition to being considered a fire-type vegetation,chaparral is also often described as a fire-dependentvegetation. This is based on both population and communitylevel phenomenon. Certain species, Adenostomafasciculatum (Rosaceae), Arctostaphvlos spp. (Ericaccae) andCeanothus spp. (Rhamnaceae) for instance, require tire forseedling establishment. Seeds are dispersed in a dormant stateand accumulate in the soil until germination is triggered byfire, either from heat or a chemical leaching from charredwood (Keeley 1987). These species have specialized theirreproductive biology to the extent that they are dependentupon fire for completion of their life cycle and may bereferred to as “fire-recruiters”. At the community level,fire-dependence is implied by the frequent suggestion thatstands require fire for rejuvenation. Chaparral unburned for60 years or more is often referred to as decadent, senescent,senile and trashy (Hanes 1977).

This fire-dependent paradigm of chaparral has guided firemanagement strategy in southern California, although it isperhaps generous to call the modem fire regime “a strategy,”since most acreage in southern California bums bycatastrophic wildfires. Nonetheless, federal, state and countyagencies have prescribe bum programs for chaparral sitesunder their fire jurisdiction. Some areas that escape wildfiresare burned under prescription at return intervals of

‘Professor of Biology, Department of Biology, Occidental College,Los Angeles.

approximately 15-25 years. Such a prescription followslogically from the commonly accepted dogma about thetire-dependence of chaparral. This, however, is not thewhole story.

FIRE RESIIJENCE VS. FIRE DEPENDENCEWhile it is true that the chaparral community is highlyresilient to fire, all species within the community are notfire-dependent. In fact, a large component of chaparral,while persisting in the face of recut-rent fire, may actuallydecline after repeated tires. Included here are species such asOuercus dumosa (fa*gaceae), Heteromeles arbutifoliaRosaceae), -us ilicifolia (Rosaceae), Cercocarnusbetuloides (Rosaceae) and Rhamnus spp. (Rhamnaceae).These shrubs are resilient to tire by virtue of the fact that theyare vigorous resprouters, yet they do not establish seedlingsafter fire. These species are “fire-persisters” but not“fire-recruiters.” A management plan oriented towardslong-term stability and maintenance of biodiversity needs toconsider the conditions necessary for reproduction of thesetaxa.

The conditions under which these species recruit seedlingshave not been well worked out. It is clear that these speciesdo not establish seedlings after fire, and there are aspects oftheir seed germination physiology which account for this(Keeley 1987). On the other hand, studies of maturechaparral have consistently pointed out the lack of seedlingreproduction under the closed canopy of this dense shrubvegetation (Sampson 1944; Horton and Kraebel 1955; Hanes1971; Christensen and Muller 1975).

One clue to this mystery is an observation made in an earlypaper by Patric and Wanes (1964). These authors studied astand of chaparral unburned for more than 60 years and notedseedlings of OuercushrLlmnsa Prunus .%&Xa, and Rhamnus- -m. Spurred in part by these early findings I have beeninvestigating the fate of chaparral in the long absence of fire.


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My focus has been on the demographic structure of standsfree of tire for 100 years or more in some cases. This studyhas revealed large se&hng populations in older stands ofchaparral; from 1,000 to 40,000 seedlings per hectare for taxasuch as Guercus,,Rha,au~ .P,otuu.~ Cercocamus andHeteromeles (Keclcy unpublished data). It is apparent thatlong fire-free conditions are required for seedlingestablishment by these tire-persister shrub species.

In summary, chaparral is dominated by shrubs that areresilient to tire. Some are fire-dependent taxa that recruitseedlings only in the first season after fire, and these arecalled fire-recruiters. Other shrubs, however, are notfire-dependent. They persist after tire but these fire-persistersrequire long fire-free conditions for seedling establishment(figure 1).

What is the best strategy for management of these systems. Itappears that fire intervals on the order of every 20 yearswould potentially benefit fire-recruiters. Fire-persisters,while not obviously damaged .by this fue return interval, overlong periods of time wiil be threatened by the lack ofopportunities for seedling establishment. I suggest thecoexistence of these modes reflecs the natural stochastic fireregime. Under natural conditions, the eventuality of tire onany given site would have been nearly certain, however, thereturn interval over time would have been variable. Shortreturn intervals would have provided opportunities forpopulation expansion of fire-recruiters and long returnintervals would have provided opportunities for populationexpansion of tire-persisters.

RESILIENCE TO LONG FIREFREEINTERVALSCommunity stability is dependent on both fire-recruiters andtire-persisters being resilient to both short and long fire returnintervals. The current fire. regime of relatively short intervalsof 20 years between fires does not pose an immediate threatto either group. I suggest that all chaparral shrubs are alsoresilient to long tire-free periods, although few chaparral sitesremain unburned for more than a few decades.





Fire -Persister

51 1


Log Years

Figure l.- Schematic illustration of the timing of seedlingrecruitment for chaparral shrubs described as fire-recruitersand as fire-persisters and longterm changes in relative shrubcover for tire-recruiters (dashed line) and tire persisters (solidline).

This notion would seem to be contrary to much of the dogmaabout the decadence, senescence and senility of chaparralstands older than 60 years. These terms, however, are seldomdefined; a former student once suggested that a senilechaparral shrub was one which forgot to close its stomates,and this definition is about as good as any proposed in theliterature. Most certainly these terms derive fromobservations that, due to natural thinning of shrubs (e.g.,Schlesinger and Gill 1978), dead wood accumulates.However, something that is seldom appreciated is that deadstems are continually replaced by basal sprouting in allsprouting shrubs (figure 2). Consequently, the age structureof sprouting shrub populations are not even-aged and exhibitcontinuous recruitment and turnover of stems (figure 3). Inother words, resprouting, in addition to functioning torejuvenate shrubs after fire, functions to rejuvenate thecanopy throughout the life of the stand.

Age (Years)

Figure 2.- Number of stems of different ages on a single resprouting shrub of Adenostoma fasciculatumin a stand of chaparral last burned 89 years ago (Keeley unpublished data).

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How then did old stands of chaparral come to be described assenescent and unproductive? This idea is apparently derivedfrom early studies which investigated browse production bydifferent aged stands of chaparral (Biswell and others 1952;Hiehle 1964; Gibbens and Schultz 1963). These studiesconcluded that chaparral became very unproductive withinseveral decades following tire. However, these studies wereonly concerned with production available of wildlife.Consequently they did not present valid measures ofproductivity, because production above 1.5 meters, which isunavailable for deer, was not included. Since most newgrowth in older stands occurs above 2 meters, it is notsurprising that one would conclude that frequent fires were anecessity for maintaining productive chaparral communities.Since the concept of stand senescent seemed logicallyconsistent with the tire-dependent nature of many chaparralspecies, this myth of low productivity in older stands ofchaparral was not questioned by many chaparral ecologistsand foresters. Modem studies, however, reveal that livebiomass increases with age in chaparm (figure 4), and theterms decadence, senescence, and senility, while possibly trueof some species, should not be used to describe chaparralcommunities.

Figure 3.- predicted population age structureof Quercus dumosa stems sprouted fromroot crowns of mature shrubs in a stand ofchaparral last burned 76 years ago (solid barsare living stems, vertical lines arc dead stems).Stem diameters wcrc measured in 36 4x4 mplots randomly placed in the stand. Age waspredicted from the indicated regression linebased on 32 stems aged by ring counts.


In addition to the correlation coeflicicnt, 2the estimate of relative error was calculated Eas the standard error divided by the mean ??value of y. E

In conclusion, chaparral is resilient to short and longtire-free intervals, and different tire-return intervals, favordifferent components of the vegetation. Longterm stabilityand biodiversity of chaparral communities may require amosaic of fire regimes.

8 0 . 0 0 0

s,1 60,000

az 50,000 -

5 10 15 20 25 30 36 40 45 7 (>60)

Stand Age (years)

Figure 4.- Standing living biomass in chaparral stands as afunction of age since last fire (from Keeley and Keeley 1988,with permission of Cambridge University Press, data fromstudies by Specht 1969, Conrad and DeBano 1974,Schlesinger & Gill 1980, Rundel and Parsons 1979, Stohlgrenand others 1984, as cited in Keeiey and KceIcy 1988.)

2 5 0 0 -

22 0 0 0


1 8 0 0

1 6 0 0

I 3nn 1

6 0 0

i l l S A N ICiNAGI


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LITERATURE CITEDBiswell, H. H., R.D. Taber, D.W. Hcdrick, and A.M.

Schultz. 1952. Management of chamise brushlands forgame in the north coast range of California. CaliforniaFish and Game 38:453-484.

Christensen, N. L. and C. H. Muller. 1975. Relativeimportance of factors controlling germination and seedlingsurvival in Adcnostoma chaparral. American MidlandNaturalist 93:71-78.

Gibbens, R. P. and A.M. Schuhz. 1963. Brushmanipulation on a deer winter range. California Fish andGame 49:95-l 18.

Hanes, T.L. 1971. Succession after tire in the chaparral ofsouthern California. Ecological Monographs 41:27-52.

Hanes, T. L. 1977. California chaparral, pp. 417-170. In:Barbour, M. G. and J. Major, eds. Terrestrial vegetationof California. John Wiley, New York.

Hiehie, J.L. 1964. Measurement of browse growth andutilization. California Fish and Game 50:148-151.

Horton, J.S. and C.J. Kraebel. 1955. Development ofvegetation after fire in the chamise chaparral of southernCalifornia. Ecology 36:244-262.

Keeiey, J. E. 1987. Role of fire in seed germination ofwoody taxa in California chaparral. Ecology 68:434-443.

Keeley, J. E. and S.C. Keelcy. 1988. Chaparral, pp.165-207. In: Barbour M.G. and W. D. Billings, eds.North American terrestrial vegetation. CambridgeUniversity Press, New York.

pat&, J. H. and T. L. Hanes. 1964. Chaparral successionin a San Gabriel Mountain area of California. Ecology45:353-360.

Sampson, A. W. 1944. Plant succession and burnedchaparral lands in northern California. AgricuhuralExperiment Station, University of California, Berkeley,Bulletin 685.

Schlesinger, W.H. and D.S. Gill. 1978. Demographicstudies of the chaparral shrub, Ceanothus megacarpus, inthe Santa Ynez Mountains, California. Ecology59:1256-1263.

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David H. Van Leaf

Abstract-Oak forests throughout the southern Appalachians have been historically maintained in a regimeof frequent tire. Frequent fire over an indefinite time period favors oak establishment by reducingunderstory and midstory competition 6om tire-intolerant species and by creating preferred conditions foracorn caching by squirrels and bluejays. Fire also reduces populations of insects which prey on acorns andyoung oak seedlings. Once established in the understory, oaks have a tenacious ability to resprout whentops have been killed repeatedly by tire. The ability to continually resprout when numbers of othersprouting hardwoods have been reduced by tire allows oak to accumulate in the advance regeneration pooland dominate the next stand when suitable conditions prevail. Intense fires in logging debris also favorestablishment and development of high quality oak-dominated stands. Tentative guidelines for thesilvicultural .US of fire to regenerate oak are discussed.

INTRODUCTIONThe abundance of oak in the southern Appalachians andthroughout eastern North America is related to past land useand extensive disturbance (Crowe 1988). Most of the riverbasins throughout the southern mountains were cut over andsubsequently bumed repeatedly around the turn of the century(Secretary of Agriculture’s Report to Congress 1902). Thistype of disturbance regime evidently favored oak regenerationbecause oaks presently dominate mature mixed hardwoodstands on mesic to x&c sites throughout the region.

Today oaks arc often replaced by other species when maturestands are harvested, especially on better quality sites (Sanderand others 1983). Failure to consistently regenerate oaksfollowing harvest is widely recognized as a major problem inhardwood silviculture. Even though researchers generallyagree that lire played a role in the establishment of oak-dominated stands at the turn of the century (Sander and others1983; Crow 1988), no silvicultural guidelines exist for usingfire to regenerate oak (Rouse 1986). The purpose of thispaper will be to 1) describe the ecology of oak regeneration inregard to fire, and 2) present tentative guidelines for thesilvicultural use of fire to regenerate oak.

It must be emphasized that these arc tentative guidelines andmust be tested prior to implementation as managementrecommendations.

THE ECOLOGY OF OAK REGENERATIONLarge seed crops are produced by oaks at 2- to lo-yearintervals, although there is great variation among species(Sander and others 1983). In the southern Appalachians,acorn yields of greater than 1000 pounds per acre (freshweight) occasionally occur which allow oak seedlings tobecome established. Deer and turkeys are major consumers

‘Professor, Department of Forest Resources, ClemsonUniversity, Clemson, SC.

of acorns, although Sciurids, especially chipmunks and flyingsquirrels, may consume more than half of the oak mastavailable to wildlife in the southern Appalachians (Johnsonand others 1989).

In addition to wildlife predation of acorns, insects alsoconsume large quantities of acorns. Annually about 50percent of the acorn crop in Ohio is destroyed by the larvaeof Curculio weevils, acorn moths, and gall wasps. Otherinsects attack germinating acorns and oak seedlings.However, recent studies indicate that prescribed burning mayreduce populations of oak insect pests (Galford and others1988). A reduction in insect predation would allow more

acorns to be scattered and buried by jays and squirrels, thusenhancing the probability of successfbl germination, and alsoencourage subsequent seedling establishment.

Areas of thin litter are preferred by squin& and blue jays foracorn burial, suggesting that recently burned areas provideconditions conducive to oak establishment (Gal&J and others1988). An interesting and important ecological finding is that

jays collect and disperse only sound nuts (Dartey-Hill andJohnson 1981), which implies that if these acorns escapepredation they will result in well-established first-yearseedlings. Seedlings from freshly germinated acorns areunable to emerge through a heavy litter cover (Sander andothers 1983). Germination and first-year survival are bestwhen acorns are buried about i-inch deep in the mineral soil(Sander and others 1983).

Species in the oak-pine complex adapted during theirevolutionary history to regimes of occasional and frequent fireby developing survival mechanisms which enabled them towithstand intense heat or to regenerate successfully followingtire. Martin (1989) suggests that bark thickness may be thesingle attribute that best characterizes a species’s adaptation totire. While bark thickness is undoubtedly of great importanceto the survival of mature trees in regimes of frequent fire, it

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is the ability to continually resprout following top-kill thatenables most hardwood species, and especially oak, toregenerate under such conditions.

Although all hardwood species sprout in a regime of annualwinter fire, sprouts remain relatively small and inconspicuousbecause of repeated top-kill by tire (Thor and Nichols 1974;Langdon 198 1; Waldrop and others 1987). Annual summertires eventually eliminate all hardwood sprouts. Biennialsummer tires also gradually eliminate hardwood sprouts, butoak succumbs more slowly than other species (fig. 1). Oaks,in the absence of prolific root sprouters such as sweetgum,would gradually dominate the advance regeneration poolbecause of the tenacity of their sprouting (Carve1 1 and Tryon1961; Waldrop and others 1987).

At the turn of the century, summer tires were quite commonas farmers burned the land to facilitate grazing. They hadlearned from early settlers, who in turn had learned fromtheir Indian predecessors, that growing season fires bestmaintained an open forest with a rich herbaceous layer(Komarek 1974). However, not all areas would bum everyyear, so hardwood sprouts would have survived in areaswhere tire occurred at irregular intervals. It is reasonable toassume that, because of their tenacious sprouting ability, oakswould have dominated the advance regeneration pool.

100 -


3 60-

Eu 70-k,n 60-

Periodic winter and summer bums at intervals of about 4-7years allow a vigorous hardwood understory to develop(Langdon 1981; Waldrop and others 1987). However, stemsgenerally remain small enough (< 2 in) to be top-killed bythe next fire. Hardwood sprouting is more vigorousfollowing periodic winter bums because of greatercarbohydrate reserves (Hodgkins 1958). Thor and Nichols(1974) noted that even with periodic and annual winterburning, oak stems tend to increase at the expense ofcompeting hardwoods. After two periodic winter bums andeight annual winter bums, oak stems comprised 61 and67 percent of the total stems, compared to 51 percent oakstems on the unburned plots. Swan (1970) has similarlyshown that surface tires increase the proportion of oak in astand even if no seedling establishment occurs, i.e., byper s i s t en t sprouting.

A regime of frequent burning over long periods of time wouldcreate an open stand, whether burning occurs in pine orhardwood stands. In hardwood stands, long-term burningwould tend to eliminate small understory stems outright andwould gradually reduce the mid- and overstory canopythrough mortality resulting from tire wounds. Increased lightreaching the forest floor in these open stands would maintainthe vigor of oak advance regeneration. Loftis (1990)demonstrated that elimination of the subcanopy by herbicides

0 4 a 12 16 20 24Years

Figure 1. Cumulative mortality of hardwood roots over 26years of biennial prescribed burning (From Langdon 198 1).

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encouraged development of advance regeneration of red oakin mature mixed hardwood stands in the southernAppalachians. Long-term burning would have created standssimilar to those created by injecting understory hardwoodswith herbicides.

Studies of effects of single fires on composition of mixedstands have produced varied results. McGee (1979) foundthat single spring and fall bums in small sapling-sized mixedhardwood stands in northern Alabama had little effect onspecies composition other than to increase relative dominanceof red maple. However, a single intense wildfire in a youngmixed hardwood stand in West Virginia shifted speciescomposition to a predominately oak stand (Carve11 and Maxey1969).

Broadcast burning of logging slash in the mountains of SouthCarolina and Georgia increased the number of oak sproutsand, more importantly, the number of top-killed oak stems(up to 6-in ground diameter) with basal sprouts (Augspurgerand others 1987). Severe fires xcrify forest sites byconsuming much of the forest floor and perhaps even organicmatter in the mineral soil, as well as by exposing the site togreater solar radiation through canopy reduction. Conversionof mesic sites to x&c conditions by intense fires or by a longregime of low intensity fires, along with their tenaciousability to resprout, could explain in large part the ability ofoaks to dominate sites where more mesic species normallyoccur.

The absence of fire for long periods of time has allowed thecomposition and structure of the southern Appalachian forestto change to a condition where oak species can no longerdominate on better sites. Species that arc intolerant of firehave become established and grown to a size where they,because of thicker bark associated with age, can resist firedamage. Such species as mockemut and pignut hickories,scarlet oak, red maple, and blackgum arc examples of suchspecies that arc oficn found on sites where fire has been longabsent (Harmon 1984; Martin 1989). Suppression of fire hasallowed mesic species, both trees and shrubs, to occupy driersites where fire was once more frequent and oak moredominant. In particular, yellow poplar stands now oftenreach ridge tops and rhododendron has dramatically increasedits area1 extent (Van Lear and Waldrop 1989; Martin 1989).Impenetrable thickets of ericaceous species such as mountainlaurel and rhododendron now often dominate midstorics andunderstories of hardwood stands in the Southern Appalachiansand prevent desirable hardwood regeneration from becomingestablished (Beck 1988).

SILVICULTURAL USE OF FIRE IN OAKREGENERATIONThere is no dispute among silviculturists that oak advanceregeneration is ncccssary before a new oak-dominated standcan be regenerated (Clark and Watt 1971; Sander and others1983; Loftis 1988; Lorimer 1989). However, while manyacknowledge the role that fire may have played in creating thepresent mature oak stands, no silvicultural guidelines havebeen developed for using fire to regenerate oak stands.

Based on the history of fire in the southern Appalachians andon documented ecological responses of oaks and associatedspecies to fire discussed earlier, the following scenarios arepresented as tentative guidelines for using fire in oakmanagement. Further research will be necessary to test andline tune these suggestions before they can be recommendedas silvicultural practices.

To Promote Advance RegenerationLittle (1974) suggested, as did Van Lear and Waldrop (lpgp),that an extended period of repeated burns prior to harvestmay be necessary to improve the status of oak in the advanceregeneration pool, especially on better sites. The famousSantee Fire Plot study, although conducted in anotherphysiographic region, showed that annual summer bums for 5years in a pine stand in the Coastal Plain killed about 40percent of oak root stocks compared to 55 to PO percent ofother woody competitors (Waldrop and others 1987).Biennial summer burning killed hardwood root stocks moreslowly but the rate, of mortality for other woody species wasstill significantly greater than that of oak species. Annualwinter burning, while not as effective as summer burning inaltering species composition, still tends to xerify the site byconsuming litter and reducing shading of top-killed understoryspecies.

Thus, a regime of frequent understory bums, including bothsummer and winter bums, during a period of 5 to 20 yearsprior to harvest should promote oak seedling establishmentand allow oak seedling-sprouts to dominate the advanceregeneration pool (fig. 2). A relatively open stand with fewmidstory and understory trees would provide sufficient lightfor the oak advance regeneration to develop into stems ofsufficient size to outgrow other species after the overstory isremoved. Without frequent fire, all advance regenerationspecies would respond to the favorable light conditions in anopen stand.

Preharvest burning reduces the forest floor, therebyencouraging burial of acorns by squirrels and bluejays.Burning theoretically reduces insect predation of acorns andyoung oak seedlings. The proposed burning regime should bea mix of summer and winter fires adjusted to maintain thevigor of the oak advance regeneration. There is no research

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Frequent bumsI” mature oakdcmkiated stard

Suppress fire through poleand snail sawlimber stage

Remove o”erslory and a0.v cdc advanzregeneration to dominate new stand

Mid- and under?.torycompetftwn reduced

>.Squirrels and jq-s preler to bury

aOm!S CC m?aS Of thin litter

.Stcq burning to dkhv cak advarasregeneration t o dewki9

Burning favors successlul germmahonand &y eslablishmenl d C&

as Well as amer spec,es


Figure 2. Tentative scenario of using prescribed fire to encourage advance regeneration of oak.


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that currently documents what this mix of bums should be.Once an adequate number of oak seedling-sprouts are presentand numbers of competing species have been sufftcientlyreduced, fire should be withheld to allow the oak advanceregeneration to attain sufficient size to outgrow other specieswhich germinate or sprout after the mature stand is cut.Sander and others (1983) recommends that 435 advanceregeneration oak stems per acre over 4.5 ft tall be presentbefore the ovcrstory is removed.

Fire has been suppressed for so long in the southernAppalachians that it may be necessary to use herbicides toremove midstory trees that have grown too large to be killedby low-intensity fires. Lofiis (1988, 1990) has convincinglyshown that growth of advance regeneration of northern redoak can be enhanced by herbicidal removal of mid- andunderstory competitors. A combination of herbicide treatmentand frequent fire may be required to secure oak regenerationand allow it to maintain its vigor in mixed hardwood forestswhich have not been burned for decades. Frequentunderstory burning will be necessary because singe bumsbenefit oak regeneration only slightly (Tcuke and Van Lear1982).

Foresters have long recognized that wildfire during thegrowing season is a major cause of butt rot in hardwoods, butrelatively little information is available concerning therelationship between prescribed fires of lower intensity andstem damage. Wendel and Smith (1986) found that a strip-head fire in the spring in an oak-hickory stand in WestVirginia caused a decline in overstory vigor and resulted indeath of many trees during the 5 years after burning.However, a low-intensity winter fire in a mixed hardwoodstand in the southern Appalachians resulted in little or nocambium damage to large crop trees (Sanders and others1987). Smaller trees did suffer stem damage, but in even-aged management these trees would be used for products notrequiring stems of high quality. If not removed, thesedamaged trees would eventually succumb to disease and belost from the stand. More research is needed to determine ifand when low-intensity fires can be used without excessivedamage to stems of large valuable crop trees in maturehardwood stands.

To Increase Quality and Numbers of Oak Stemsafter ClearcuttlngThe fell-and-bum technique for regenerating mixed pine-hardwood stands has been used successfully in the southernAppalachians and is fully described in Waldrop and others(1989). Basically, the technique involves felling residual treesleft after commercial clearcutting when their crowns arcalmost fully leafed out. After curing for l-3 months, thelogging debris is broadcast burned with a high intensity tireconducted under conditions that produce little or no soildamage. Planting pine seedlings at low densities among thehardwood coppice produces a mixed pine-hardwood stand.

Broadcast burning following clearcutting of hardwood ormixed pine-hardwood stands promotes better quality oaksprouts by forcing them to develop from the groundline.Over 97 percent of all oak sprouts developing after broadcastburning of logging slash in the southern Appalachians werebasal sprouts, versus 71 percent for unburned areas(Augspurger and others 1987). Suppressed buds higher onthe stump are apparently destroyed by the intense heat of thefire. Sprouts from the base of the stump will not develop rotas readily as those from higher on the stump and can begrown on longer rotations for more valuable products.

Broadcast burning increases the number of oak sprouts, aswell as the number of small oak stumps with at least onebasal sprout. Small oak (< 6 in) stems in the understory ofmature stands often arc poorly formed and,, unless killed backby fire or some other agent, will not develop into qualitys t e m s . However, when top-killed by the intense heat ofbroadcast bums, sprouts from these fire-killed stems are morelikely to develop into sound timber trees than other types ofoak regeneration (Roth and Hepting 1943).

Intense tires can sometimes result in the introduction of oak inthe succeeding stand. Nowacki (1988) documented cases innorthern Wisconsin where clearcutting of old-growth maple-hemlock stands and slash burning resulted in even-aged standsdominated by northern red oak. Lorimer (1989) suggestedthat these oak stands probably developed from acorns broughtinto the bumed area by birds and animals. The author hasmade similar observations following an intense wildfire in themountains of South Carolina.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONSThere is no doubt that oaks in the southern Appalachians arebeing replaced by other species on better sites where oakswere once dominant. Oaks are definitely favored by sometype of disturbance regime. Based on the history of thisregion and literature concerning responses of oak to fire, itappears that oak replacement is largely the result of adifferent fire regime from that which existed in the region inprevious millennia. In the past, frequent fires allowed oakregeneration to accumulate and develop in the understory ofopen mature stands at the expense of shade-tolerant, fire-intolerant species. When the overstory of these stands waseither completely or partially removed by various agents(wind, insects, wildfire, Indian clearing, harvesting, etc.),conditions were created which allowed advance-regenerationdominated by oak to develop into mature stands.

If oaks are to bc maintained as a dominant overstory specieson medium to good quality sites in the southern Appalachians,it seems that foresters will have to either restore tire to somesemblance of its historical role as a major environmentalfactor or develop artificial methods that simulate the effects oftire. If research does not soon discover the secrets ofmaintaining oaks on these sites, foresters through their tiresuppression efforts will have encouraged the demise of oak onthese sites, much to the detriment of numerous ecosystemvalues.


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LITERATURE CITEDAugspurger, M. K., D. H. Van Lear, S. K. Cox, and D. R.

Phillips. 1987. Regeneration of hardwood coppice withand without prescribed fire. p. 82-92. In: Phillips, D. R.(ed.). Proceedings Fourth Biennial Silvicultural ResearchConference, Nov. 4-6, 1986, Atlanta, GA. U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Gen. Tech.Rep. SE-42. Ashebille, NC.

Beck, Donald E. 1989. Regenerating cove hardwood stands.p. 156-166. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; andKidd, William E. (cds.). Guidelines for RegeneratingAppalachian Hardwoods. May 24-26, 1988.Morgantown, WV. SAF Publications 88-03. WestVirginia University Books, Office of Publications,Morgantown, WV.

CarveIl, K. L. and W. R. Maxey. 1969. Wildfire adverselyaffects composition of cove hardwood stands. WestVirginia Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin2(2):4-S.

CarveIl, K. L. and E. H. Tryon. 1961. The effect ofenvironmental factors on the abundance of oakregeneration beneath mature oak stands. Forest Science7:98-105.

Clark, F. Bryan and Richard Watt. 1971. Silviculturalmethods for regenerating oaks. Oak SymposiumProceedings. August 16-20, Morgantown, WV. U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. NortheasternForest Experiment Station, Upper Darby, PA.

Crowe, T. R. 1988. Reproductive mode and mechanisms forself-replacement of northern red oak (Quercu.s rubra)--areview. Forest Science 34: 19-40.

Darley-Hill and Johnson. 1981. Acorn disposa1 by the bIuejay (C’yanociltu Oecologia 50:231-2X?.

Galford, Jimmy R., John W. Peaco*ck, and Susan L. Wright.1988. Insects and other pests affecting oak regeneration.In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd, William E.(eds.). Cuidelincs for Regenerating AppalachianHardwood Stands. May 24-26, 1989. Morgantown, WV.SAF Publication 88-03. West Virginia University Books,Office of Publications, Morgantown, WV.

Harmon, Mark E. 1984. Survival of trees after low-intensitysurface fires in Great Smokey Mountains National Park.Ecology 65(3):796-802.

Hodgkins, E. J. 1958. Effects of fire on undergrowthvegetation in upland southern pine forests. Ecology39:36-46.

Johnson, A. Sydney, James M. Wentworth, and Philip E.Hale. 1989. Cumulative mast needs of forest wildlife.p. 18-23. In: McGee, C. E. (4.). Southern AppalachianMast Management Workshop Proceedings, August 14-16,1989, Knoxville, TN.

Komarek, E. V. 1974. Appalachian mountains, mesophyticforest, and grasslands. p, 269-272. In: Kozlowski, T. T.and Ah&en, C. E. (cds.). Fire and Ecosystems.Academic Press, New York.

Lang&n, 0. G. 1981. Some effects of prescribed fire onunderstory vegetation in loblo@ pine stands. In: Wood,G. W. (ed.). Prescribed fire and wildlife in Southernforests: proceedings of a symposium, April 6-8, 198 1.Myrtle Beach, SC. Clemson Univ., Belle W. BaruchFor. Sci. Inst., Georgetown, SC. p. 143-153.

Little, Silas. 1974. Effects of tire on temperate forests:Northeastern United States. In: Kozlowski, T. T. andAhlgren, C. E. (eds.). Fire and Ecosystems. AcademicPress, New York.

Loftis, David L. 1988. Regenerating oaks on high sites, anupdate. In: Smith, H. Clay; Pcrkey, Arlyn W.; andKidd, William E., Jr. (eds.). Guidelines for RegeneratingAppalachian Hardwood Stands. May 24-26, 1988,Morgantown, WV. SAF Publication 88-03. WestVirginia University Books, Office of Publications, WestVirginia. p. 199-209.

Loftis, L. David. 1990. A shelterwood method forregenerating red oak in the Southern Appalachians.Forest Science 36:917-929.

Lorimer, Craig G. 1989. The oak regeneration problem:New evidence on causes and possible solutions.University of Wisconsin, Dept. of Forestry, ForestResource Analyses #8. 3 1 pp.

McGee, C. E. 1979. Fire and other factors related to oakrcgcneration. In: Holt, H. A. and Fischer, B. C. (eds.)Regenerating oaks in upland hardwood forests. John S.Wright Forestry Conference, Purdue University.Lafayette, IN. p. 75-81.

Martin, William H. 1989. The role and history of fze in theDaniel Boone National Forest. U.S. Forest Service,Daniel Boone National Forest, Winchester, KY.

Nowacki, G. J. 1988. Community and historical analysis ofnorthern red oak along a moisture gradient in north-central Wisconsin. M.S. Thesis, University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point.

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Roth, E. R. and G. H. Hepting. 1943. Origin anddcvclopmcnt of oak stump sprouts as affecting theirlikelihood to decay. Jour. For. 41:27-36.

Rouse, C. 1986. Fire effects in northeastern forests: oak.United States Department of Agriculture, Forest ServiceGeneral Technical Report NC-10.5. 7 p.

Sander, Ivan L., Charles E. McGee, Kenneth G. Day, andRalph E. Willard. 1983. Oak-Hickory. In: Bums,Russell M. (camp.). Silvicultural systems for the majorforest types of the United States. U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service Agriculture Handbook No.445. Washington, D.C. p. 116-120.

Sanders, D. L., D. H. Van Lear, and D. C. Guynn. 1987.Prescribed burning in mature pine-hardwood stands--effects on hardwoods and small mammals. In: Phillips,Douglas R. (amp.). Proceedings of the 4th biennialsilvicultural research conference; 1986 Nov. 4-6; Atlanta,GA. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-42. Asheville, NC: US.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, SoutheasternForest Experiment Station, p. 93-96.

Secretary of Agriculture’s Report to Congress. 1902.Forests, rivers, and mountains of the SouthernAppalachian region. Government Printing Office.Washington, D.C.

Swan, F. R. 1970. Posttire response of four plantcommunities in southcentral New York stale. Ecology51:1074-1082.

Teuke, M. J. and D. H. Van Lear. 1982. Prescribedburning and oak advance regeneration in the SouthernAppalachians. Georgia For. Corn. Res. Pap. 30. 11 pp

Thor, E. and G. M. Nichols. 1974. Some effects of fire onlitter, soil, and hardwood regeneration. Proc. TallTimbers Fire Ecology Conf. 13:317-329.

Van Lear, David H. and Thomas A. Waldrop. 1989.History, uses, and effects of fire in the Appalachians.U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Gen.Tech. Rep. SE-54. 20 p.

Waldrop, Thomas A., David H. Van Lear, F. Thomas Lloyd,and William R. Harms. 1987. Long-term studies ofprescribed burning in loblolly pine forests of theSoutheastern Coastal Plain. U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-4523 p.

Waldrop, Thomas A., F. Thomas Lloyd, and James A.Abercrombie, Jr. 1989. Fell and bum to regeneratemixed pine-hardwood stands: an overview of research onstand development. In: Waldrop, Thomas A. (ed.).Proceedings Pine-Hardwood Mixtures: A Symposium onManagement and Ecology of the Type. April 18-19,1989, Atlanta, GA. US. Department of Agriculture,Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-58. p. 75-82.

Wendel, G. W. and H. Clay Smith. 1986. Effects of aprescribed fire in a Central Appalachian oak-hickorystand. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest ServiceNortheastern Forest Experiment Station NE-RP-594. 8 p.

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H.R. DeSehn and E.E.C. Clebsch’

Abstract-We examined data collected on the understory of , g prescribe-burned upland oak forest at theUniversity of Tennessee Highland Rim Forestry Station from 1965 through 1989. Trcatmcnts were annualand periodic (once in live years) burns and no bum. Each was replicated three times.

Species number declined dramatically under the no-bum regime. Tree seedling establishment was inhibitedand sprout size decreased in the annual and periodic burns-here the understory aspect is quite open. Treesprout cover in the periodic bums followed the incidence of tire, it has lowest in &c Seplember followingeach winter burn. Graminoid cover, chiefly little bluestem Schizachyrium-scopa&Ldecreascd to zero inthe no-bum treatment. It was variable in other treatments but decreased inqularly from 1973-I 975 to1988. In 1989 it established 8 new high. Composite, legume and other fort, cover declined to zero underthe no-bum treatment. Composite cover in annual plots peaked in 19734 but decreased irregularly since;legume cover increased irregularly; other forb cover decreased irregularly in annual bum plots. Compositecover in periodic plots oscillated around fire years when cover was generally highest; legume cover peakedin four of the five fire years; other forb cover generally increased in tha year following a fire. Twenty-tworesponse-types occurred.

INTRODUCTIONStudies of the effects of fire on natural or man-fosteredsystems in central and southeastern United States are chieflythose in the grassland whcrc these communities were longmaintained as grazing land (Risser and others 1981) and insoutheastern pineland which were also maintained as grazingand timberland (and for naval stores in the past) (Wahlcnbergand others 1939). Summaries of the effects of fire ongrasslands can be found in Risser and others (198 ]),Daubenmire (1968a), Wright and Bailey (1982), Vogl (1974),and Collins and Wallace (1990). Summaries of the effects offire on conifer forests especially southeastern forests are inchapters in Kozlowski and Ahlgrcn (1974), USDA ForestService (1971), Wright and Bailey (1982), and Wood (1981).Older literature is summat-izcd in Garren (1943), and Ahlgrcnand Ah&en (1960). USC of tire in the central DeciduousForest has been on the decline since abandonment of openrange practices and intensification and specialization in landuse (Vog] 1974, Chandler and others 1983). Fire usecontinues in hardwood and mixed forests as a wildlifemanagement tool (Wood 1981), and to modify understorycomposition or size class structure (Wade and others 1989,Faulkner and others 1989). Studies on hardwood understoryinclude Paulsell (1957) and DeSelm and others (1973, inpress).

This paper is concerned with the consequences of 25 years ofannual and periodic prescribed fires on the undcrstory speciesin oak-dominated vegetation at Highland Rim Forest

‘Department of Botany and Graduate Program in Ecology,The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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Expcrimcnt Station, Franklin County, Tennessee. The studycontributes to an understanding of the maintenance ofgraminoid-forb undcrstory and openings in the upland oakforests of this region and adds to our knowledge of responsebehavior of these species to fire.

For the period 1965-1970 the understory of the bum andcontrol plots was examined (DeSelm and others 1973). In thesix treatment years number of species sampled were 13, 23and 35 taxa in control, periodic and annual bum plots,respectively. With increased burning, tree frequency and treesprout cover decreased, grass and forb cover increased, andherbaceous vine and shrub cover became elevated on theperiodic burns. Eighty-four percent of the species respondedpositively (by increased cover) to fire treatment by 1970.Tree, litter and soil changes were examined by Nichols (1971)and Thor and Nichols (1973).

THE STUDY AREAThe study area is at 360 30’N : 8&W at the eastern edge ofthe Interior Low Plateau Province (the southeastern HighlandRim) in Middle Tennessee. The land surface here undulatesand it has loess-derived soils in which a water-movement-inhibiting pan has developed in several series (Fenneman1938, Fox and others 1958, Love and others 1959). Forestvegetation is of the upland oak swamp, post oak-blackjack,and southern red oak-scarlet oak types (DeSelm and others1973). Conversion of this vegetation to agricultural land andto loblolly pine plantations is still occurring (Thor andHuffman 1969, USDA Soil Conservation Service 1971,Buckner and others 1986).

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Early surveyors report a few places with no forest, and suchmodem sites as the May Prairie have a physiognomic andflor&ic resemblance to midwestem prairie (D&elm andothers 1973). The origin and maintenance of grass vegetationand grass understory has in part stimulated this study.

American Indian use was f&wed by agriculture andlivestock grazing between the late 1700s and early 1940s.Army maneuvers during World War II have been part of thissite’s history. The local farmers commonly burned off thewoods in winter and a railroad line on the edge of the stationalso storied fires annually (Faulkner 1968, Haywood 1823,D&elm and others 1973).

METHODSData were collected on nine I.8 acre experimental bum pIots,19651989 inclusive. Plots were split among annual, periodic(usually 5 years) and control. A 50-foot tape was stretchedthree feet above the ground between permanent stakes in eachplot. At each one-foot mark a 0.19 inch diameter metal pinwas lowered vertically to the ground and each “hit” on eachvascular plant was recorded; those plants below three feet inheight are herein called understory. Annual burns began in1963; periodic bums were made in 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979,1983 and 1988. Late winter bums were used to simulate theaction of local land owners. Plant nomenclature followsFcmald (I 950).

Data reported here are cover (sum of hits per species x 2)along each SO-foot line. Cover values are averages of thethree replications. No frequency or relativized data arereported. Years have been segregated into early 1965-1972,middle 1973-1981, and late 1982-1989 groups. Some taxaoccur widely (the wides) across the series of years withsomewhat variable-to-steady cover. In other taxa, the coverincreases (the increasers), or the cover decreases (thedecreasers), and in a few the cover increases (bulges) ordecreases (sags) in the middle years. Taxa not present in the

‘early years that appear later are termed “invaders.” Taxapresent in early or early and middle years but which are notpresent in late years are termed “retreaters.” Sporadics,which occur in early, middle, and late years, totaling 22 taxa,were not considered. Some terminology is from Vogl (1974).


GeneralTaxa seen along the strips over the years totaled 141 spccics:13 tree, 15 shrub, 2 woody vine, 2 1 graminoid, 22 legumes,40 composite and 22 other forb taxa (counts excluded

unknowns ofivarious categoties). This represented 52 percentof the 270 known vascular flora of the Station. Of these, 119are included in this study. TWO taxa occutxd only in controlplots: Gcntiana villosa and Lisuidambar stvracillua (but in0.01 acre plots, Liquidambar has been found in the periodicbum). Thus, all but one taxa was at least mildly fire tolerant.

Although several State rare taxa occurred on the Forest(D&elm 1990) only one occurred on the bum plots;$ymnopogon brevifolius is listed as a species of specialconcern (Somers and others 1989).

Forty-five taxa occurred in all three treatments, 39 taxaoccurred in both bum treatments, 31 occurred in the annualbum only, and 12 occurred in the periodic bum only.

Total cover (sum of woody plant-graminoid-forb) in annualplots peaked in 1973--but by 1987 it decreased 43 percentafter which it rose again. In the periodic plots total cover fell46 percent between 1980 and 1987 after which it rosesharply. These 43 and 46 percent decreases in coverrepresented temporary increases in bare ground. Total coverin check plots decreased gradually until 1976 (the last year ofherb cover), remained more or less steady through 1988, thenincreased in 1989 (Table 1).

Woody PlantsCover by woody plants was irregular but more or lessconstant in annual plots over the year series. In periodicplots, woody plant cover increased irregularly. In check plotswoody plant cover decreased through 1988; in 1989 itincreased to the level approximating 1975 (Table 1).

Tr@!3Sum of cover of tree taxa on control plots apparentlydecreased until about I979 afier which it became variable.Some tree stems grew upward beyond the sampling line andwere no longer recorded. Some young trees died under thedeveloping canopy but others have spread onto the samplingline. Nyssa sylvatica, Qucrcus coccinea, Q. falcata, Q.velutina and Vaccinium arborcum were recorded most to allyears (Nyssa and Q. coccinea were decrcasers). Qucrcusstellata. Q. marilandica and Carya tomentosa occurred inearly or middle years. Lisuidambar and Cornusoccurred in late or middle and late years. Acer rubrumappeared in 1969 and 1989, this apparently represent&disappearance by height growth followed by recent sproutingA summary of response types appears in Tables 2 and 3.

In annual bum plot strips, six taxa occurred widely (~arya,w, Q. qoccinea,Q. stellata, Q. velutina and Sassafrasalbidum). coccinea and Q velutina were decreasers,Q. stellata and Sassafras we, increasers. &zJ~&% R&da, Q,m and Vaccinium arboreum occurred in early and/ormiddIe years. Qucrcus lvmta was recorded in five middleand late years through 1983. The last several species, exceptperhaps Q. lyrata, were fire sensitive.


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In periodic plots sum of cover of tree species and cover ofseveral individual tree species was lower in fire years thanbetween tires--they were burned back by the tires. Taxa withdecreased cover on two to five fires were Carya. Nvssa,Q.coccinea, Q. falcata. Q. marilandica. Q. stellata. Q. velutina,and Vaccinium %#xszt~ (nresent six years) andQ. jyr& (present two years) barely survived these fires.kercrubrum was seen only recently (1982- 1988).velutina and Vaccinium were increasers, Q. coccinea was adccreaser, and Q. falcata and Q. stellata increased in middleyears (bulge species).

ShrubsIn the control plot strips, shrubs persisted various numbers ofyears under the developing canopy: Rhus alabra to 1965,Rubus (erect) to 1972, Ceanothus americana and &copallina to 1974, Rubus (dcwbcrry) to 1979, and Salix trististo 1980. Vaccinium vacillans occurred each year, v.staminium appeared 1989. V. vacillans occurred in controloak-pine plots in southern New Jersey where its cover wasreduced by 1950s drought (Stephenson 1965).

Certain shrubs in the annual burn plot strips occurred widelyacross the years (mostly many years): Ceanothus,Rhododendron nudiflorum,R~~onallina, j& toxicodendron,~ubus (dewberry and erect), Salix tristis and Vacciniumvacillans. Increase in ,Btmver has been seen in centralWisconsin with fire (Reich and others 1990). Vaccimumvaci]la and m copallina increased in cover. In southernNew Jersey y. vacillans’s cover increased with burningfrequency (Rue11 and Cantlon 1953). Rhododendron was asag species. Ascvrum straoalum Pyrus mela,nocarpa, Rhus~~.~~--L& and Salix humilispersisted only one to three years(1965- 1967). Ascvrum hvpericoides and Vacciniumstamineum have been recorded since 1985 and 1988,respectively.

Shrub cover on periodic plot strips included the widelyoccurring Ceanothus. Rhus copallina, Rubus (dewberry anderect), Salix and Vaccinium r&iilarun gt h e s e ,Ceanothzecreased in cover while Rubus erect$aiix-tristih.and Vaccinium vacillans increased in cover. Ascvrumhvpericoides and A. stmrralum appeared in plot strips in 1983and 1988 respectively. Rhus copallina cover peaked in fireyears and dropped 50 percent or more in each of thefollowing three to four years. Rosa Carolina and Rhustoxicodendron disappeared after 1967 and 1972, rcspectivcly.Rhus alabra behaved like Acer rubrum-in the control plots, itoccurred in both early and recent years, ehus in 1965, 1983and 1984.

Woody VinesWoody vines were mainly Smilax glauca-only a few hitswere made on l&is ulstivahso n t r o 1 p 1 o t s , Vitisoccurred 19651968 only. In these plots Smilax was adxreaser, early year covers averaged 5.8, later year coversaveraged 1.5 percent. Canopy closure and deer browseaffected coverage.

In the annual bum plot strips, Smilax cover decreasedslightly. In the periodic bum plot strips cover varied from2.0 to 20.6 per year. Compared to the previous year, coverincreased one tire year, remained constant one tire year anddecreased three fire years. In the year following fire,compared to the fire year, cover increased after one fim, anddecreased after four fires.

GraminoidsTotal graminoid cover in annual plots peaked in 1973, 1978and 1989. In periodic plots it peaked in 1975, 1980 and 1989(the year following a fire in each case). Graminoid coverdecreased steadily in control plots (Table 1).

Little Bluestem-Schizwhvrium scooariumControl plot strips showed the disappearance of blucstem by1977. Shade and tree litter are believed to be causes.

Cover of bluestem on annual bum plot strips increasedirregularly to 1973, fell, peaked again in 1978, fell irregularlyuntil 1988 and peaked again in 1989. Biomass ofSchizachvrium also experienced multiple high and low valueyears in the 61 year record in Kansas (Gene Towne, personalcommunication). Although Androooeon d coverincreased with annual burning in Missouri, cover of@tiza&yrium, increased with alternate year fires (Kucera andKoclling 1964).

Periodic plot strip cover increased irregularly to 1975,dccreascd, increased again to 1980, decreased to 1988, thenincreased again in 1989. These variations do not match burnyears. On two fire years, 1969 and 1988, cover decreasedslightly From the year before, and it rose in 1974, 1979, 1983from the year before. The positive effects of this treatmenton the cover of this grass were certainly not dramatic. Thehigh peaks of this grass in both treatments classed this taxonas a midphasc bulge species. The 1989 peak may be part of anew trend.

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Table 1. Total cover of graaiwids, forbs, and twmdy plants by treatmeuts and year.





























58. 7












































23.2 44.7

21.0 32.6

34.6 36.6

23.2 33.6

26.2 34.0

16.0 38.3

22.1 45.6

24.3 52.0

28.1 63.2

32.5 65.0

37.0 66.6

16.4 26.8

20.6 51.6

23.3 60.7

18.6 64.0

24.3 62.4

17.5 50.7

27.1 64.7

24.7 53.6

27.0 44.6

26.7 36.3

19.3 30.6

26.0 26.5

Periodic CbeclIGram. Forbs W=h’ Gram. Forbs Nbody35.3 27.5 37.6 57.4 16.624.6























25. 4



26. 1


































































196s 94.7 42.6 24.0 164.3 39.9 89.7 20.6

Other Grmiinoids (Gramineae [Poaceae],Cyperaceae)In control plots, other graminoids were represented by lowcover of only seven taxa--no more than five present any oneyear. They persisted only through 197 1.

Twenty-four other graminoids occurred in annual burn plots.Taxa present almost every year arc Andronorron gerardii andSorphastrum nutan~ with 6-10 percent cover per year. A fewother graminoids occurred more or less widely: Acdropogoqgyrans, Carex sp., Eleocharis m, and Panicum&h&mum tid 111. ltumtinoaum. a b o v e taxa,Andropogon gerardii and Sorghastrum were increasers, andthe two Panicum species were decreasers. Aristida dichotomadisappeared after 1966, 4. purourea after 1972, Gvmnouonon.brevifolius after 1981, Panicum ~nUY&stifoliom after 1978, H.raveneliii after 1975 ,SFA?auciflora alter 1972, andwge+ata aller 1968. globularis

occurred only in the middle years of the series. A few taxaappeared late in the series, Amostis perennansjn 1980,Dieitaria iscmand Microstegium vimineum in 1989,Muhlenbekai in 1984, Panicum laxiflorumin 1977____.and p. w in 1986. The Dieitaria andMicrostqiuqare widespread weeds.

Concurrent peaks and valleys of cover in the annual burnsoccurred in a few taxa some years, but the correspondence inpeaks was not impressive and did not argue strongly forresponse to weather. Peaks and valleys were best expressedin the high cover species JndropoRon perardii andSorghastrum. These taxa also experienced rises and falls inbiomass values on Kansas prairie (Gene Towne, persona1communication). The sum of all other graminoid coverpeaked in 1972, 1973, 1979, 1986, 1987, and 1989.Sorghaslrurn. contributed greatly to all of these peaks.Andropogon gerardii contributed in 1979, 1987, and 1989.


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Other graminoids in periodic bum plot strips numbered 19species A few hxa occurred 1 I or more years, Andropoyongerardii. Panicum commutatum. P. dichotomum. P;.laxiflorum, p. microcarpon,and Sorghashum nutans. A.gerardii was a bulge species, Sorghastmm was an increaser.

Two bxa were seen in the early or early and middle part ofthe series, Agrostis hycmalis though 1976 and .uuhlenbergia.tcnuifolia in 1965. A few taxa were seen only later, Aristidacurtisii only in 1974, Panicum laxiflorum since 1976, p.sphaerocamon in 1979, p. villosissimum since 1981, andRhvnchosoora e1qbtjari.s in 1980.

The effects of the periodic fire on the total cover of all taxa infire years was variable, some years cover increased, someyears it decreases. However, the year following a fire, anincrease in cover was achieved, the increase in cover was 1.1to 9.7 times the cover the year before. Taxa with increasedcover were the “fire follower” class of Lemon (1949). Theeffect is temporary; the second year afler a tire, othergraminoid cover total decreased.

ForbsIn 1965 and 1966 annual plot total forb cover exceededwoody plant and graminoid cover but after 1966 it decreasedto a level intermediate between them. This suggested anearly-in-the-treatment (early successional) forb dominant stageas was seen early in some southeastern seKs (Quarterman1957, Oosting 1942). Annual bum forb cover peaked in 1973but decreased irregularly to 1987--a 60 percent loss of cover.In periodic fire plots total forb cover peaked in 1969, 1974-5,1979, 1983 and 1988 (each fire year). There was a decreasein total forb cover 1979-1987 of 79 percent of the 1979 value.Forb cover in control plots decreased irregularly through1975 (Table I).

Composites (Compositae, Asteracee)Sixteen composite taxa, including unknown categories,occurred in the control burn plots. Occurrences ranged fromone to 10 taxa per year. All were eliminated by 1975.

Annual bum composites, expressed as total hits on all taxa,increased to a peak in 1973 and 1974 and decreasedirregularly thereafter (but increased slightly in 1989). Thisdecrease in cover was apparent to us and was a cause. ofcomment. Recent plot photographs showed few composites inmost late years compared to earlier years. Numbers of taxain early years averaged 19.3, in late years 10.0. Taxashowing the above trend with peaks in 1973 or 1974,sometimes with additional peaks, were: Aster &.IJw~~, A.hemisphericus, A. patens, A. undulatis, Coreopsis tripterisand SolidaPo odora. All but A. hcmisphericus were bulgespecies.

Several taxa occurred only in the early years: Antennariaplantaginifolia through 1968, Hieracium grpnovii- through1971, Sericocarpus linifolius in 1968. A few taxa persistedthrough the middle years: Helianthus aneustifolius through1978, E. silphioides through 1977, Solidago bicolor through1977, S. erecta through 1981, and S. speciosa through 1974.Two taxa only occurred in the middle years: Helianthusstrumosus and Scnecio anonvmus. Several bxa appeared onlyin late or middle and late years; these were Ambrosiaartimisiifolia seen first in 1987, Erectites hiem seenfirst in 1982, Eupatorium album seen first in 1975, E.aromaticum seen first in 1973, Jj. semiserratum seenin 1985,and &lidago canadcnsis seen first in 1973. The Ambrosia,Erectitis,~aahum~densis w e r eweedy taxa locally.

Helianthus hirsutus and Coreopsis & were dccreasers--inthe late years these taxa were present live of 16 possibletimes. H. mollis appeared to be on a two- to four-year low tohigh cover cycle. The reasons for this was unknown but itsnegative response to insect attack and wet weather werenoted.

Total hits on composites increased and decreased with bumsand between bums in the periodic plot strips. Compositecover generally peaked in fire years and decreased thereaRer(although this did not happen during the wet year of 1989after the 1988 tire).

A few taxa occurred only early in the total year sequence:Aster natens, Antennaria plantaginifolia, Gnaphaliumobtusifolium. Soli_dago nemoralia and Vemonia flaccidifolia.A few other taxa occurred in early and middle or middleyears: & hemisphericus, Eupatorium sessilifolium,Hieracium gronovii, Senecio anonymus and &l$agoWspeciosa. Some taxa occurred only in the middle and late orlate years of the series: Aster simplex, Chrysopsis.m,Eriaeron canadensis, Soli&eo canadensis, and Solidaprow. The Erigeron-and S. canadcnsis were weeds locally.Chrvsopsis spp. invaded burned longleaf pine stands(Heywood and Bumette 1934).

Sixteen other taxa occurred sparingly to frequently across theyear-series. Solidaeo odora was a decreaser. A few ycar-frequent taxa peaked during fire years. They wereEuoatorium aromaticum (five fires), Solidaeo & (fourfires), Helianthus silphioidcs and Aster dumosus (two fires),and Helianthus hirsutus, and Eupatorium rotundifolium (onefire each). On the other hand, Coreopsis & coverdecreased in fire years (means were 0.52 percent cover in fireyears versus 1.7 percent cover during non-fire years).Composite seedling rosettes (unknown &r, composite,Eupatorium, Helianthus and Solidago) increased in cover theyear after the fire years (four of five fires).


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Legumes (Lxguminosae, Fabaceae, Mimosae,Caesalpinaceae)Thirteen legume taxa occur in the control plots at the rate ofone to six taxa per year. All were eliminated by 1970.

Twenty one named species, one hybrid and three unknownIegurne taxa occurred in the annual bum plot strips. Taxawhich occurred only in the early years were Amphicarpa-bractcata. Dcsmodium virginianum and Psoralea usoralioides.Species which occurred in middle or early and middle yearswere Dcsmodium paniculatum, Lespedeza capitata and &.virginica. The hybrid L. intermedia x capitata occurredannually in the middle and late years.

Sixteen taxa occurred widely across the year-series; 10 taxa13 or more years, six taxa occurred only 2- 12 years. Ofthese wide taxa, Desmodium marilandicum. Lesuedezaintermedia, L. reoens, Stvlosanthes biflora and Tephrosiavirginiana were increasers. These were part of a generaltrend of increased legume cover with time; the coverincreased 40.8 percent from the early to late year groups.Similar increases in legume importance were rcportcd byWahlenberg and others (1939). L. procumbens has a low-middle, and Schrankia microohvlla has a high middle yearcover.

Sum-of-legume cover and certain species cover suggestedcycles of 2-5 years intervals but dates of species peaks usuallydid not correspond. Response of legumes to periodic bumswas various; a general response was that species drop out.The mean number of taxa in early years was 9.8; the meannumber in the late years was 20 percent lower. Severallegume taxa occurred in 12 or more years across the series.Included were three increasers .&a&.~ ..&!&T,Q~ cl*toria--Pmariana and Tcphrosia virginiana, Lespedeza repensadecreaser, and L. intermcdia a bulge species. Taxa present inearly or early and middle years that disappeared later were:Amphicarpum bracteatum in 1969, Desmodium ciliare 1977,g. marilandicum 1976, D. viridiflorum 1967, Calactiavolubilis 1981, Lesnedeza & 1967, Psoralea usoralioides1968. Apparently only one species invaded, Cassiafasciculata; this has been present since 1975. Two taxaoccurred only in the middle years, Desmodium obtusum andQ. paniculatum.

Among wide taxa, peaks usually occurred in the periodic bumyears. The two highest peaks (1979 and 1988) arc amplifiedby high cover of Cassia nictitans. An increase in frequency- -of S. nictitans with burning has been rcportcd (Cushwa andothers 1970). Four other taxa had high cover in three to fourfire years compared to non-tire years: f’.:lilnb .matina- - ILespedeza repens L. procumbens and Schrankia micronhvlla._- --LThe cover of these taxa decreased in the years after each fire.Lespedeza intermedia peaked in two fire years only. Coverof Lesnedeza vireinica and Tcnhrosia increased on three offive hres the year after the fire.

In periodic tire years the cover of Stvlosanthes a, whichaveraged 1.6, fell to zero--it was absent in tire years. it wasanother species influenced negatively by fire.

Other ForhsIn the control plots, other forb cover averaged low and lastedonly until 1975.

In annual plot strips only Pvcnanthemum tenuifolium andunknown forb were present widely across the years. Seventaxa occurred only one year; eight taxa occurred 2-10 years.

Taxa occurring in the early or early and middle years inannual plots were Aureolaria virgin& Galium circaezans,Gerardia .terutitIo~ Lobelia inflata 1. puberula, Scutellariapp*p-,=.inteerifolia, and Viola saeittata. Three taxa occurred only inmiddIe of the seqze: Gerardia pectinata, Hyp&cumdensiflorum, and Trichostema diw. Late occurringtaxa were Houstonia caerulea, Jpomq pandnrata, Leeheam,and Rhexia mariana,

Over the annual bum year-series, the number of &xa dechnedslightly; the mean number of taxa in early versus late yearswas 4.8 versus 2.8, respectively. Similarly, the sum of allhits was 13.6 versus 5.0; this cover comparison was heavilyinfluenced by an early-in-the-series peak by unknown forbcover in 1971, and peaks by Pvcnanthemum tenuifolium in1965 and 1968.

Periodic other forb bum plot data, as in the annual strips,contained few species and those that appeared did so for onlya few years. One species, Hvnericum dcnsiflorum,disappeared--it was last seen in 1978. A few taxa occurredonly in the middle of the year series: Acalvpha virginica,Convolvulus seuium. Diodia viruinica, Gerardia pectinata,Houstonia raerulea, Lechea minor ahd Lobelia nuberula. eDj,dia and Lobelia have been seen two years, the others oneyear. The only new hxon was -whichappeared in 1983. Mean cover in tire years was 3.0; meancover in non-tire years was 4.0, the difference suggested adepressing effect of fire on forbs. The year following the tirethe mean cover was 5.8~the rise suggests a positivefertilization or release-from-competition effect. These effectscan be seen in Potcntilla simplex in which percent cover infire years was low; in non-tire years it was intcrmediatc; theyear after a fire, cover was highest.

General DiscussionThe methods used collected minimal annual data althoughthey were favored by nearly exact position replicationbetween years and places. The three-foot maximum heightmeasurement over-emphasized disappearance of understorystems which grew taller than three feet. Early maturingspecies may not be seen, and late maturing species may have

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been over-represented in this constant-date sampling. Thewet year of 1989 increased cover of some species groupsmarkedly. Although time of year collection of data hasalways been a bias in ecological studies, in this summer-autumn flora bias is believed minimal. Animal activity mayinfluence data; some Smilax was browsed and oneRhododendron was lost by burrowing. A peduncle-bitinginsect inhibited fruit set in Helianthus molljs.

Results expressed as percentage cover simply measured thedegree of success achieved by the species in that environment(Daubcnmire 1968b). A parallel expression is “number ofyears seen, ” which represents the species response tocomparatively stable soil conditions but changing climaticconditions and changing conditions of interspecificcompetition. Variable responses (variable occurrence,increase, decrease, invade, retreat) are typical behaviors ofpopulations under stress (Grime 1979).

The mechanisms of response to fire, for the woody plants,were related to top death and subsequent growth of sproutsfrom suppressed or adventitious buds (Barbour and others1987). Most herbs were hemicryptophytes with terminal budwhich, if not injured by fire, provides post-bum growthpotential (Daubenmire 1968b). Annual herbs (therophytes)comprise I 1.2 percent of the flora of these plots--theiroccurrence is more or less equally divided between annualand periodic bum plots. They make up nearly one-fourth(23.5 percent) of invader occurrences in annual and periodicplots--a proportion twice that in the plot flora. They ofteninvade burned gmssland (Vogl 1974).

Species can be rated on their response to fire treatment. Onlytwo bxa were exclusive to the control plots--this suggestedthat other taxa were at least tolerant of the stress of fires ofthis study and the long history of previous woods fires andaccidental railroad fires. Of low tolerance were taxa whichwere early and early and middle retrcaters, decreaser-retrcaters, and the late and middle and late invaders. Widelyoccurring taxa make up the rest of the classes. Widedecreasers. wide sag species, and wide taxa with low cover infire years were more tolerant than previous classes. The mosttolerant were wides with peaks in fire years, certain wideswith their own cycle of variable cover, those with middle yearbulges, and wide increasers. Least tolerant taxa were calledpyrophobes; most tolerant taxa here were called pyrophiles.But these terms are absolutes and express only the extremesof a group of classes of fire tolerance suggested above. Infact, these classes may be part of a gradient of responses to alarge number of fire intensity/frequencies.

BurnsIn both bum treatments, the canopy was open, and overstorytrees were few. The 0.5-5.0 inch DBH class was essentiallymissing (D&elm and others in press). In late years annualbum plots were grass-forb-woody plant dominated. In late

years, periodic plots were woody plant-grass-forb dominated.Due to a flush of Cassia nictitans after the fire of 1988, theorder was woody plants-forb-grass. In the wet year of 1989the order was grass-woody plant-forb. In 1989 periodic plotshad 44 percent more cover than annual bum plots. Totalspecies number on periodic plots always increased in fueyears and after four fires, and decreased thereafter (see alsoCollins and Gibson 1990).

Individual species response to the two types of bumtreatments were seldom identical; only 20 taxa (14 percent)had the same response to annual and periodic burning. Thevariety of responses suggested that the sprouting habit of treesand shrubs and the hemicryptophytic life form of most herbshere was not strictly fire adaptations, but were a fire responseto adaptive mechanisms evolved under a complex ofdisturbances including fire, grazing, browsing, and/ordrought.

The net response of legumes to fire was positive; there was anincrease in cover in both annual and periodic treatments. Thespecies number remained constant in annual burns (although itdecreases slightly in periodic bums). A few legume taxapeaked dramatically in periodic fire years and two taxapeaked the year after a periodic fire. The legumes, plusCeanothus (Bond, 1983), widely occurring in annual andperiodic plots, and free-living N-fixers, replace at least somenitrogen volatilized in fires (Chandler and others 1983).Nitrogen losses arc reported in soil in burned grassland(Collins and Wallace 1990).

After 27 years of treatment, eight taxa, all woody, occurredon the strips in control bum plots. This is similar to the 10woody taxa after 20 years under loblolly pine in coastal SouthCarolina (Lewis and Harshberger 1976). Eleven herb taxawere present in the pine stand but there were none under oakshere. A more open canopy or physical factors associated withthe litter or oak roots (McPherson and Thompson 1972) orallclopathic substances (Rice 1984) may be responsible for thecontrasting numbers of taxon under these overstories.Slightly more woody taxa occurred in the oak plots here withfire (13 annual, 16 periodic taxa) than under pine (10 annual,12 periodic taxa). Under oak 39 (annual) and 34 (periodic)herb taxa occurred; under pine 26 (annual) and 18 (periodic)herbs occurred. Although the species number is lower underpine, the percentage distribution of grass, composite andlegume taxa is similar. The lower numbers of taxa in bumplots under pine versus oak may represent differential pre-plot-establishment land use history (as grazing intensity) orsome factor as fertility or moisture holding capacity.

The plots described by Paulsell (1957) are floristically andphysiognomically similar to our study plots. But his specificresults, reported as species frequencies after seven years oftreatment bear little similarity to ours.

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Species EquilibriumIn the control plots, 42 taxa have retreated (including 10woody taxa) and only three woody taxa have invaded for anet loss of 39 taxa. The overall loss rate was 1.1 taxa peryear. Herbs persisted on control plots only until 1978--theydisappeared at a rate of 1.6 taxa per year.

In the periodic burn plots there were 12 invader and 21retreater taxa over the years for a net loss of nine species. Inthe annual bum plots there were 18 invaders and 33 r&catersfor a net loss of 15 species. Eliminating species co-occurrence between annual and periodic plots there were 48retreaters (nearly two per year) and 26 invading taxa for a netloss of 22 taxa (nearly one per year). These losses includethree tree retreaters and one tree invader for a net loss of twotree taxa--hardly suggestive of succession toward foreststability. In all taxa, maximum disturbance (annual bum) hasinduced maximum species movements but with littlclikelihood of establishment of equilibrium vegetation (Grime1979, Risscr and others 1981).

In the periodic bums, five of 12 invaders appeared for thefirst time the year of one of the live periodic fires. That onespecies invading per (periodic) fire compares to the annualbums with 0.72 species per fire invading (18 invaders/25fk).

Life Form/HistoryMuch has been made of life history/life form as control ofresponse to lire. In this flora very little is known of thedetails of life history response to stress. The form/familyspecies classification used previously indicated a surge ofHemicryptophyte cover with increased lire as was expected(DeSelm and others 1973). Kccley (1981) has shown how lifeform/history dcterrnines response to fire. In this study manyresponse types have been discussed. Only occasionally dothey match with life form/family classes (Tables 2 and 3).The tree form, for example, occurred in 13 response types,shrubs occurred in 10, gmminoids occurred in 12, legumesoccurred in 15 and composites occurred in 13.

Equally, bum plot trees had 11 responses. Rhizomespreading shrubs had seven responses, other shrub six.Among herbs, annuals had nine responses and occurred onlyin bum plots. Chamaephytes (two species) had two responsesin bum plots. Geophytes (five species) had three responses inbums and did not occur in check plots. Stolmferons herbs(three species) had live responses in hre plots. Climbingherbs (live species) had six responses in bum plots.Graminoids had 11 responses in tire plots, other forbs had 17responses. Clearly much more needs to be known about thelife history of these taxa to explain this level of variableresponse to fire. Such knowledge would aid those who seekto manage extensive wildland pastures of the southeasternUnited States (U.S.D.A. Forest Service 1981).

Table 2. -PO= types. tx-eataent -, nsbers o f taxa -P---tedper type and life foxmdfanilies of taxa in burn and check plots . ‘ , ’

bpaaw? Treatment3 No. of Taxa in L i f e FoIm, Families

Type me A l l Treab~ts bmg Taxa

ux A, P, C 2 5 T, Sk, Cr. C, lew A, P, C 1 3 T, Sk, W, Cr, C, Otlm A, P, C 1 6 T, Sk, WV. Cr. C. Le. OtWA P 6 T, C, Le. Otwu) P 2 Tlu4N P 2U P P 6 Sh. c, Le

El3A, p 5 cr. lEA 5 C

GNA c. LeP i Le

WA) P I leUC A LeRR A, p, C 5 9 T, Sk. IW, Gr, C, Ie, OtE m A, P, C 29 T, sb, Cr. C, la, OtEMOR C 3 Sk, cl-lzm C 5 GrY A, P 2 2 T, Cr. C. Le, OtML1 A, J’, C 10 T, G; C, LeLI An p, c 2 3 T, Sk, Cr. C, Otlwi A, P 3 2 T, Sk, Cr. C, Le, OtEL A, P, C 5 T, Sk. WV, la

‘See text for species in mspmse types.‘See table 3 for key to abbreviations.

3A ’ Almoal, P - periodic, C - ckack plots .

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Table 3. Key to response type abbreviations

A . Low in fire years of periodic burns

I3 - B u l g e , curved year-trend, cover high in middle years

C + Composite

D . Decreaser, cover v6lUeS decrease with years

E . Early years (1965-1972)

G * Sag, cover decreases in middle years

Gr - G r a m i n o i d

I l invaders, taxa found on plots

a f te r in i t i a l inven tory o f 1965

K 0 Constant, cover varies ( i tt (a between years, no trends

L . La te year * (1962-1989)

Le * L e g u m e

M * M idd le years (1973-1981)

N - Increaser, cover values increase with years

0 - Own cycle , cover with apparent high-low periodicity

ot - Other forb

P l Peak, cover peaks in periodic burn fire years

S * Scat tered , taXa w i d e b u t o n l y T/3 - 213

of years represented

S h - Shrub

T * Tree

W = Wide, occurs in two thirds of years

scattered in early, middle, and late years

WV - Woody vine


GeneralSpecies in the same genus or family or life form groupbehaved both similarly in some cases and dissimilarly in othercases with respect to their long-term response to tire. It isimpossible to generalize with any accuracy about any group.For example, in the genus Rhus in periodic plots, &. alabraappeared in early and late years, &. toxicodendrondisappeared aher 1972 and the cover of I~.LQ&I& whichwas present throughout, peaked in fire years but wasdepressed between fires. la annual bums, B. glabra occurredonly in early years, II. toxicodendron and &. conallina bothoccurred widely but the latter was an increaser. Otherspecies in the same family or life form exhibit equallyvariable responses.

Cover of species on contro1 plots changed as it did intrea tment plots. The causes of change were not known ineither case. Differences extant between bum (annual andperiodic) and control plots were not necessarily due only to

treatment effects on burned plots; there may have beenequally large chronological developmental changes on controlplots induced by or paralleled by canopy closure and litteraccumulation.

In addition to widely occurring species--all species whichexhibited little cover change, or which were increasers ordccreascrs--there were also other classes. Retreaters werepresent in early or early and middle years and disappearedthereafter. Invaders appeared in middle or middle and lateyears but were not present in early years. Sporadic& whichoccurred in early, middle and late years totaled 10 or fewer,have not been considered in this paper. Of the 22 responsetypes seen among the 141 taxa, 10 types occurred in all threetreatments, but a few others were specific to treatment or life-form-family categories. A gradient of response occurredamong the species present. Those that responded mostpositively were called pyrophiles--those that responded leastpositively (but have been there long enough to see once) weretermed pyrophobes. Most taxa occurred between theseextremes.

Annual BurnsSome taxa seem to have oscillating cover even in the uniformtreatment of annual bums. These wides may have respondedto some internal growth cycle (as trees that fmit cyclically)(Fowells 196.5). They may also have responded to annualweather changes (Fritts 1976). For example Towne andOwensby (1989) found annual Kansas prairie biomasscorrelated with precipitation. Or they may have responded tochanges in competition from neighbors whose coverresponded as above. Weather regimes seemed to be a likelysource of year to year variation in species behavior. Itseffects will be considered in a later paper.

A few taxa (as Schizachvrium) peaked in middle years, coverbefore and after these peaks was generally lower. They were,in early years increasers, in later years decreasers. Thesemay have been the oscilating cover type with their own cyclebut with a very long time between peaks.

Taxa which occurred only in middle years may have been alow average cover example of the middle-years-peak speciesnoted above. Or perhaps they should be considered invader-retreaters. They occurred in four form-family groups in allthree treatments. With more extensive sampling, these mightprove to be middle years peak species noted above. Wide,middle-year-sag species occurred as did those that occur onlyin early and late years.

Periodic BurnsComposite seedlings established in the year of periodic fireson those plots. Comparable cohorts of grass and legumeseedlings were not seen. New taxa were also most likely toinvade the periodic plots during bum years.


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Six kinds of response types occurred in periodic burns only.Three of these had low cover in tire years, and high coverbetween tires; there were those with more or less constantcover between peaks and between valleys, those with a middleyear-group bulge, and those which were increasers, Threeother types have peak cover during fire years. There werethose with constant or uniform peaks and valleys across theyear-series, those which were increasers, and those whichwere decreasers.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSThese experimental plots are in Compartment 1 at HighlandRim Forestry Experiment Station, a facility of the Universityof Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, and theDepartment of Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife. This workcould not have been done without their long support.The writers acknowledge the help of Mr. J. Huffman, Mr. T.Seay who have managed the plots, and the Tennessee Divisionof Forestry, Franklin County, who, with Huffman or Seay,made the burns. We acknowledge the personnel of theUniversity of Tennessee Herbarium who assisted inidentifying plants. The Department of Botany, and theGraduate Program in Ecology have also materially aided thestudy. Two anonymous reviewers suggested additions andclarifications.

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Quarterman, E. 1957. Early plant succession on abandonedcropland in the Central Basin of Tennessee. Ecology 38:300-309.


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Reich, D.B., M.D. Abrams, D.S. Ellsworth, E.L. Krugerand T.J. Tabone. 1990. Fire effects ccophysiology andcommunity dynamics of central Wisconsin oak forestregeneration. Ecology 71: 2179-2190.

Rice, E.L. 1984. Allelopathy. Second Edition. AcademicPress, Inc., New York.

Risser, P.G., E.C. Bimey, H.D. Blocker, S.W. May, W.JParton, and J.A. Wiens. 1981. The true prairieecosystem. Hutchinson Ross Publishing Company,Stroudsburg, PA.

Somers, P. and the Department of Conservation’s Rare PlantScientific Advisory Committee. 1989. Revised list ofrare plants of Tennessee. Journal Tennessee AcademyScience 64: 179-184Stephenson, S.N. 1965. Vegetationchange in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Bull. TorreyBot. Club 92: 102-l 14.

Thor, E. and G.M. Nichols. 1973. Some effects of fires onlitter, soil and hardwood regeneration. Proceedings of theAnnual Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference 13: 317-329.

Thor, E. and P.J. Huffman. 1969. Direct seeding andplanting of loblolly pine on the Highland Rim ofTennessee. Tree Planters Notes 20: 19-22.

Towne, G. and C. Owcnsby. 1984. Long-term effects ofannual burning at different dates in ungrazed Kansastallgrass prairie. Journal of Range Management 37: 392-397.

USDA Forest Service. 1971. Prescribed burning symposiumproceedings. Southeastern Forest Experiment Station,AsheviIle, NC.

USDA Forest Service. 198 1. An assessment of the forestand range land situation in the United States. ForestResource Report No. 22. Washington, D.C.

Vogl, R.J. 1974. Effects of fire on grasslands. pp. 139.194. In: T.T. Kozlowski and C.E. Ahlgren (eds.) Fire

and ecosystems. Academic Press, New York.

Wade, D.D., D.R. Weise, and R. Shell. 1989. Some effectsof periodic winter fire on plant communities on theGeorgia Piedmont. pp. 603-611. In: J. H. Miller(compiler). Proceedings of the Fifth Biennial SouthernSilvicultural Research Conference. General TechnicalReport , SO-74

Wahlenberg, W.G., S.W. Greene and H.R. Reed. 1939.Effects of fire and cattle grazing on longleaf pine lands asstudied at McNeill, Miss. USDA Tech. Bull. 683.

Wood, G.N. (cd.). 1981. Prescribed tire and wildlife insouthern forests. Belle Baruch Forest Science Inst.CIemson University, Georgetown, SC.

Wright, H.A. and A.W. Bailey. 1982. Fire ecology. JohnWiley and Sons, New York.

USDA Soil Conservation Service. 1971. Tennessee soil andwater conservation ne& inventory. Soil ConservationService, Nashville, TN.


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Thomas B. Bragg’

Abstract-Data From prescribed bums of no&western Iowa loess hills and eastern Nebraska tallgrassprairies were used to assess the e&k of season of burning and implications for long-term management ofgrassland ecosjstems. Overall forb cover declined most without burning (-22%). Compared to unburnedareas, species number on both sites was higher (i-5) wirh fall burning with the response most pronouncedat the loess hills site. The response of species such as false. sunflower @eliopsis heliantboides) suggest thatsummer and fall burning may do most to encourage seedling germination and establishment. Other species,such as white aster (Aster eticoides) on the taligrass site and gray goldenrod (Solidapo nemoralisj at theloess hills site, increased in cover with summer or fall burning. Some species showed significant changesirrespective of treatment; in he tallgrass area, porcupine-grass (Stipa spartea). decrease d and floweringspurge (Euphorbia codlate) increased.

The vegetative responses recorded suggest the likely importance of applying some summer and fail burning,in conjunction with the usual spring burning, to the long-term maintenance of diversity in the tallgrass,loess hills, and perhaps other, grassland ecosystems

INTRODUCTIONThe effects of fire in prairie ecosystems of the North

America have been extensively studied (for example, seeVogel 1974; Risser and others 1981; Wright and Bailey1982 j. Generally, studies have determined that fire is a

natural component of these grassland ecosystems and thatcontinued fire m a n a g e m e n t i s important, whether the objectiveis to maintain the vitality and diversity of the naturalecosystem or to manage for other , agmeconomic, pmposes.More recently, research has begun to reline the understandingof fire’s role in grassland ecosystems with an increased focuson fite frequency (the number of years between bums) andfire season (the season during which fire is applied).Grassland fua occurred naturally at various times of theyear, including summets (Moore 1972; Bragg 1982), thus theseasonal aspect of fire is important to understanding its rule inthe long-term management of this ecosystem. Studiescomparing differences in efffxk of season of bum, however,have largely focused on the northerly, mixed-grass prairies ofNorth and South Dakota. Few community-level studies onthis specific aspect of fire ecology have been published for thetallgrass prairie.

Response of Grasses and Grass-Like SpeciesMany comparative studies on the effect of iire season onprairie vegetation have focused on either Spring or Fall, thesebeing times most often appropriate for the managementobjective of cattle grazing. Burning during these seasons,particularly in the Spring, has also been carried over intoecoIogical management of grasslands. Studies on the effectsof fire often focus on grasses since they are the predominant

‘Professor of Biology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NJ.?.

vegetation type and since they have the greatest effect onforage production. When considered ecosystem-wide, theresults of such studies have been found to be similar only inthat they all differ considerably depending on season ofburning, latitudinal location, and local climatic conditions.These differences on grass and grass-like species are reflectedin two general areas of fire effects: productivity and species

composition. For the sake of comparison of effects of seasonof burning, results are discussed separately for northernprairies (e.g. North and South Dakota) and for central (moresoutherly) prairies (e.g. Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma).

Effect on Product iv i tyNative grass or grass-lie species, for which studies onproductivity have been conducted both under various burningregimes and at different locations, include the warm-season(C,) species blue grams [Bouteloua & (H.B.K.) Lag. exCriffths) and cool-season (C,) species such as westernwheatgrass (Arrronvron smithii Rydb.), needle-and-thread(Stina comata Trin. & Rupr.), and Kentucky bluegrass (Peapratensis L.). Also included is threadleaf sedge (Carextilifolia Nutt.) although the carbon-fixation status of thisspecies does not appear to have been determined.

As with most species, the effect of burning on blue gramadiffer by location and’with climatic conditions. In studies inSouth Dakota, for example, spring (April) burning was foundto reduce the productivity of blue grama whereas the responseto fall burning was variable, increasing production whenprecipitation was adequate and decreasing it whenprecipitation was low. In the mixed prairie of North Dakota,however, both spring (May) and fall (October) fires increasedblue grama production with spring burning resulting in the

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greater increase (Whisenant and Uresk 1989). For westernwheatgrass in South Dakota, productivity increased with Fallburning but either increased or decreased in response tospring burning, again depending on precipitation. Theresponse of this species to fire in the more northern NorthDakota prairies, however, was an increase in production withboth spring and fall burning (Whisenant and Uresk 1989). Aswith blue grama, spring burning resulted in the greaterresponse.

Needle-and-thread is one native grass species for whichproductivity is generally reduced by fire throughout much ofits range. In the mixed-grass prairies of both North andSouth Dakota, productivity of this cool-season grass declinedwith both spring and fall bums (Dix 1960; Wright andKlemmedson 1965; Engle and Bultsma 1984; Whisenant andUresk 1989). Gartner 9 & (1986), however, did report agreater productivity of this species with both spring and fallbums. In the central, more southerly, Nebraska tallgrassprairie, however, summer mowing (approximating summerburning) resulted in a higher canopy cover of the congenericporcupine-grass (Stipa spar-tea Trin.) than in areas burned inthe spring (Hover and Bragg 1982).

Threadleaf sedge, a species common in the mixed-grassprairies of the Dakotas is particularly informative. It hasbeen reported to be unaffected by spring or fall burning(Schripsema 1977; Whisenant and Uresk 1989) although it isreduced by fall burning in North Dakota @ix 1960; Whiteand Currie 1983). The general response of this species toburning is similar to that of needle-and-thread, a C, species,but unlike that of western wheatgrass, another C, species. Ifthis observation is extrapolated to other species, it suggestseither that the response to burning may occurs independent ofcarbon-fixation pathway or that the tire conditions underwhich the previous studies were conducted are not fullyknown.

A summary of the effects of fire on grass productivity, then,suggests that the complexity of fire effect studies. Only twocommon denominators are suggested, first, fires in dry yearsreduce productivity, and second, not all C, and C, species canbe expected to respond similarly to burning.

Effect on Composition.Another aspect of the effect of season of bum is the responseof the community as a whole, which is the principal focus ofthis study. Despite individual species responses, communitylevel studies in the northern mixed-grass prairie haveindicated that season of fire occurrence is not a sufficientfactor to substantially alter community composition @ix1960) or to alter the q/C, ratio of the northern mixed-grass

prairie (Steutcr 1987).

The C, grasses of the northern mix&prairie appear to be afire-adapted guild (Steuter 1987). The tendency for cool-season grass species to increase or to bc unaffected in the

northern Great Plains, however, is opposite to the response inmore southerly tallgrass prairies of Kansas and Oklahoma. Inthese tallgrass prairies, dominated by warm-season, C,species, spring bums more consistently decrease cool-season,C, species, including porcupine-grass, Kentucky bluegrass,Canada wild rye (Elvmus canadensis L.), and Scribnerdichanthelium [Dichanthelium olieosanthes (Schult.) Gouldvar. scribnerianum (Nash) Gould] (IIensel 1923; Ehrenreich1959; Hadley and Kieckhefer 1963; Robocker and Miller1955; Old 1969; Anderson and others 1983). The effect offire at other seasons, however, has not been widely studiedalthough it has been found that little bluestem (Androooeonscopor~ur Michx.), is most adversely affected by summer(July) bums (Adams g & 1982)

Response of ForbsGeneral results on fue effects indicate that forbs areincreasingly adversely affected as burning occurs atincreasingly later spring dates. For example, late springburning in the tallgrass prairies of Kansas reduced all forbs(McMurphy and Anderson 1965; Towne and Owcnsby 1984;Hulbert 1988) compared to earlier dates. However, whilethese studies reflect a reduction in cover (suggesting also areduction in productivity), the actual composition of forbs islittle effected (Anderson 1965). Similar effects related toseason of bum are reflected in the shortgrass prairies ofwestern Kansas. There, forbs are less effected by dormantseason (fall/winter) bums than by spring bums which occurafter they have initiated growth (Hopkins and others 1948).

One principal study on the response of individual forb speciesto seasonal effects of burning was conducted by Biondini andothers (1989) in northern mixed prairie. In this study, thedensity of nine forbs was significantly effected by tire season.Species responses relevant to the present study includewestern ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachva DC.) and white aster(Aster ericoides L.), which were most positively affected byfail bums, blue lettuce (Lactuca oblonnifolia Nutt.) mosteffected by summer burns, and stiff sunflower velianthus~+idus~ (Cass.) Desf.] and wavy-leaf thistle [Cirsiumundulatum (Nutt.) Spreng.] most effected by spring burns.Only pasque flower (Anemone patcns L.) had the highestdensity without burning. In another study in the northernprairie region, Schripsema (1977) recorded increases inspecies such as silver-leaf scurf-pea (Psoralea argophykPursh) with late spring (late May) burning whereas a winter(March) bum had the opposite effect.

In more southerly tallgrass prairies, fall burning increasedrigid sunflower (Solidigo rigida L.) (Schwegman and McClain1985) and leadplant (Amomha canescens Pursh) (Towne and

Owensby 1984) although the greatest increase was among theannual species such as grooved flax (Linus sulcatum Ridd.)and white sweet clover (Melilotus alba Medic. (Schwegmanand McClain 1985). Whorlcd milkwort (Polvgala verticilataL.) and grooved flax were best established in spring burnedplots (Schwegman and McClain 1985) but late spring


FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (36)

(mid-May) burns adversely affected species such as prairieviolet (Viola pedatifida G. Don), white-eyed grass(Sisvrinchium campestre Bickn.) and downy gentian (Gentianapubenrlenta Pringle); gay-feather (I .iatris a~~~.ra Michx.) andsmooth blue aster (&ter laevis L.), however, adsignificantly more leaves with late than with early springbums (Love1 1 and others 1983).

The results of previous studies on effects burning suggest thatthe basic characteristics (e.g. productivity and speciescomposition) of grasslands of different latitudes shouldrespond differently to fire and that the response will befurther modified by season of burning and climatic conditions.The objective of this paper is to identify such differences bycomparing the results from two grasslands that are similarphysiognomically but that differ in both latitude and dominantspecies. Specifically, the study will compare a Loess Hillsprairie of northwestern Iowa and a tallgrass prairie of easternNebraska in order to assess similarities in plant responses tofire. Further, the study is designed to assess the possible roleof different seasons of burning and their implications forglobal application in long--term management of grasslandecosystems.

METHODS AND MATERIALThe study involves unreplicated sites and unreplicatedlocations within each site. This design was necessitated by acombination of the travel distance, the absence of additionalsites to which access could be controlled, and the timerequired for both fire treatment and field evaluation.Therefore, extrapolation of results to other sites of the samevegetation type can only be used in a speculative manner andthen only with caution. However, in those instances wheresimilar responses to burning are noted at each site, theresponse could be considered to be replicated (e.g. two prairiesites were evaluated) and thus it is more likely to berepresentative of general trends. In addition to limiting howbroadly the results can be inferred, the lack of adequatereplication limited the kind of statistical evaluations that couldbe appropriately applied.

An additional caution to extrapolation of results is necessarydue to the absence of any tire treatment at either site formany years, probably decades, prior to the study. The plantcommunities that were burned, therefore, may not be thesame as those that dominated historically when firesreoccurred with some regularity. Studies at these sites arecontinuing at least through the 1990’s in order to assess thispossibility.

Study SiteThe LO&Q Hills study site was located on Five Ridge Prairie(within Sections 20, 21 and 29, Township 9IN, Range 48:W)located in northwest Iowa approximately 20 kilometers northof Sioux City. The prairie is managed by the PlymouthCounty Conservation Board in cooperation with the Iowa

Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Treatment plots werelocated in the northwest quarter of Section 29 along asouthwest facing, 20-26% slope on which native prairievegetation prevailed. The site was dominated by grassspecies, particularly little blue-stem and plains muhly[Muhlenberzia cusuidata (Torr.) Rydb.]. The soil of the siteis a Hamburg silt loam (Typic Udorthent soil subgroup,Entisol soil order). The Hamburg series consists ofexcessively drained, calcareous, silty soils formed on loess(Worster and Harvey 1976). Climate of the region iscontinental with normal daily highs of 30 C in July and a lowof minus -14 C in January. Normal annual precipitation(based on 1951 to 1980 data) averages 64 centimeters with74% occurring during the growing season (April throughSeptember). Climatic data are from National Oceanic andAtmospheric Association (1989a).

The tallgrass study site was located on Stolley Prairie,approximately 20 kilometers west of Omaha, Nebraska inDouglas County (NW 114 Section 15, Township 15N Range-11 E) Stolley prairie is privately o\uned, jointly leased for

wildlife habitat by the Audubon Society of Omaha and thePapio-Missouri River Natural Resources District, andmanaged by the Biology Department, University of Nebraskaat Omaha. The prairie had been mowed for more than 20years until haying ceased in 1980 with leasing of the site.Treatment plots were located on a north-facing, 7-l 1% slope,tallgrass prairie dominated by big bluestem and porcupinc-grass. The soil is a Marshall silty clay loam (Typic HapludollSubgroup, Mollisol Soil Order), a deep, well-drained soilformed in loess (Bartlett 1975). Climate of the region iscontinental with normal mean highs of 30 C in July andnormal mean lows of minus 12 C in January. Normal annualprecipitation (based on 195 1 to 1980 data) averages 76centimeters with 74% occurring during the growing season(April through September). Climatic data are from NationalOceanic and Atmospheric Association (1989b).

TreafmentAt each study site, treatment plots, approximately 20 by 20meters in size, were established in a strati&d, complete blockdesign with plots situated at either upper-slope or mid-slopelocations. A single, lo-meter (Tallgrass) or 20-meter (LoessHills) transect was centrally located within each treatment plotand permanently established with two metal rods at each end.Differences in transect length were due to size of the areaavailable for the study; the loess hills prairie was smaller insize due to woody plant invasion from lowland valleys.Along each transect, ten microplots were systematicallyplaced. I was able to evaluate the same microplots each yearof the study by extending a meter tape between the rods andusing established intervals at each evaluation.

Neither of the study sites had been burned within recentmemory. After preliminary data collection in 1981, randomlyselected treatment plots at the Tallgrass site were burned in

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early May, early July, and mid-Scptembcr 1983. With thecxccption of Fall treatments, all plots were resampled in theFall of i983, 1984, and 1986. Fall bum treatment plots werenot sampled in 1983 since treatment had not yet been applied:evaluations for 1981 were used to represent pm-bumconditions for this treatment.

At the Loess Hills site, plots were burned in mid-October1986 (after pretreatment data collection) and in late April andearly July 1987; the fan burn was conducted in 1986 (ratherthan 1987) so that all fire treatment plots would be effectedby the same (1987) growing season. Treatment plots wereresampied the Fail of 1987, 1988, and 1989. At this site,spring evaluations were also conducted in each sampling yearin order to record any species that were not visible in theFall.

Data CollectionBecause of different, site-specific characteristics of the plantcanopy cover, microplot size varied for each site. Microplotsize was 30 x 50 centimeters For the Tallgrass site and 50 x100 centimeters for the LOCSS Hills site. The larger size usedin the Loess Hills was needed due to lower total plant canopycover and more widely spaced plants. The number ofmicroplots to be evaluated was determined From preliminarysampling of each community type from which it wasdetermined that ten microplots incorporated 90% of allspecies situated along each transect in each site. Microplotswere systematically placed along each transect to facilitaterelocation in subsequent years.

Within each microplot, canopy cover of each species wasrecorded as were the general cover categories of “bare soil”(soil devoid of surface litter; litter is dead plant matter that isno longer connected to a living plant) and “forb”. Coveragewas estimated based on procedures modified fromDaubcnmire (1959). Cover categories were 0%, l-5%,S-25%, 25SO%, SO-75%, 75-95%, 95-B%, and >99%.Because of lack of adequate replicates and for the purpose ofthis broad scope paper, descriptive statistics (Mean tStandard Error) were calculated for all species and used to

compare effects of treatment.


Site DifferencesSite differences are characterized by data collected prior tothe year of fie treatment. In addition to species differences,noteworthy pretreatment differences included significantdifferences (based on Standard Error) in bare soil (soil notcovered with litter) (7% on the loess hills site compared to1% on the tallgrass site) and in forb cover (38% loess hills;45% tallgrass) (tables I and 2). In addition, 49 native specieswere recorded in loess hills, pretreatment microplotscompared to 44 species for the tallgrass microplots. AReradjusting for species observed at each site, but not necessarily

present within microplots, 16 species were identified to beunique to the loess hills with 7 unique to the tallgrass site.This supports a qualitative observation made during fieldevaluations that the loess hills had higher plant speciesdiversity than the tallgrass site and that this difference may bcdue to more niches afforded by the greater surfaceheterogeneity as reflected in bare soil. The tallgrass site,however, did have an active pocket gopher (Gwmvsbutsarius) population that has the potential to profoundlyaffect the ecosystem (Huntly and Inouye 1988) and is likely toafford some, continuous bare soil niches. Pocket gopheractivity was not observed at the loess hills site

Community-Level ResponsesSome treatment effects were found to be similar at both sitesof which the effect on forb cover and Species Richness (thetotal number of species) are most noteworthy. The fallfollowing spring and summer treatment, forb cover declinedfrom pre-treatment conditions in all microplots at both sitesregardless of whether burned or unburned. The cause for thisresponse is unclear except that precipitation does not appearto be the principal factor; both treatment years were followedby hear average or above-average precipitation (fig. I).While the decline in forb cover occurred at both study sites, itwas greatest in unburned plots (-15%) at the tallgrass prairieand second greatest in the unburned plots (-33%) at the loesshills prairie where it was second only to summer burning(- 35%). Three growing seasons following fire treatment (4seasons for the tallgrass prairie), the unburned plots continuedto show the greatest loss of forb cover based on pre-treatmentvalues (-18% for tallgrass; -21% for loess hills) (tables 1 and2). It should be noted, however, that the decline in forbcover in the absence of fire, reflects only a change in theamount of a species and not necessarily changes in populationsize.1 2 0

1l h tills Prairii

100 (3 Tallgrass P r a i r i e

IS85 1088 1081 1988 1088Year

Fig. I.-Precipitation for Sioux City, Iowa Loess Hills (=LWP) Prairie site] and North Omaha, Nebraska ~allgrass(TGP) Prairie site] weather stations for the years 1981through 1989. Horizontal lines represent normal precipitation(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 1989a,1989b). “b” = bum treatment year (For LHP, 1986 = Falltreatment and 1987 = Spring and Surmrrer treatments)

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FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (38)

Tabte 1. csnopy cover (Mean + Stendard Error) of tallmxs prairie sitespecies with frequency va~*s-greater rbsn 50 perceaf, in either this Orthe loess hilts prairie site. v810e~ represent 20 microplots from tuatransects per trestmenf. scientific and camm mams we frm the CrestPlains Flora Association (1986). *-II I w data; tr : qO.5 percent cover. Table 1. (contimwd)

Season of Prescribed Burn season of Prescribed Sun

SpeCieS Evaluation Species Ev8kationYear SPMj Sunwr Fal I Unburned Year spring Sumw FelI UnkR-Zd


Nmber of species

Forb Cover

Bare Soit

Achilles mii'efolim(yarrw)


Andropoqon &mrardfl(big bluestal

hdrcimgon scovariusWttle bluestem)

m cvlindrica(candle amnone)

A s t e r ericoides(abi te ester)

Boutel wtiwmb(sideoats gram)

Q$,g.& S'TQ.(sedge)

ceanothusls(Neu Jugey tee)

.YZotlS I s(boawe- mi)

Dichantheliuno!agossnthes var.


1901 2 91983 341984 3 21986 2 7


1 9 8 119631 9 8 41986

6 9 1 2 . 52Tl.O2z1.9

198119831 9 6 41%. 1

199119831 9 8 41 9 8 6

1901IOIl31 9 8 4191


1 9 6 11 9 8 3lS8419%

I981198319841 9 8 6



19al1 9 8 3' 9 8 4!pBb






7Q2.7 n-4.59122.1 7426.081+2.777E2.9









1021.6 1221.4lW3.316~3.7


4+1 .s lk3.8



19811 9 8 31 9 8 4lSl?S



19811 9 8 3





3 2












421.3t r


2:; 01s_:e




2 9

3 02 9




1012.6221 .O














Y: -4'!: .







5%; .;+.







trt r












Eriqeroo striwsus 1901(daisy fleabme) 1 9 8 3


He(iomis hetim- 1981(false sulflauer) 1 9 8 3

1 9 8 4




yiola mdatifida(prairie violet)


191111 0 8 31 9 8 41986

198119831 3 8 41986

Is:11 9 8 31 9 8 419116



1981 01983 91981 t r1986 622.6

19111 9 8 31 9 8 41986

1 9 1 1


101119831 9 8 41986

191119831 9 8 41986

19811 9 8 31 3 8 41 9 8 6

0t rt r








3;r.ot rtr









3+1:3t r
















4+1.6- 0

1+0.8- 0


ld 54x3:1




















16+3.72ois. 0













10% 21323:2

2;i.Pp;$+ .







2+! 0- 0 '





6127.532 5.64;;;.;- .







FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (39)

Hmtw of species

Forb Cover

Bare Soil

Andropog~n qerardii(big bluestem)

Aster sericeus(sitkv aster)

sourdare curtiwodula(SldecdS 9rw)


Carex SFQ.(sedge)

Dalea WP.(plrie clover)

Dichantheliunoliaosanthes var.


1 9 8 61 9 6 719e.e1989


1980IS8719881 9 8 0

1986l S S 7


19%19 8 71sSS1989


19%19 8 71 9 8 81989

19861987198a1 9 8 9

1 9 8 61987198111 9 8 9

1 9 8 61981





3 8

::3 3



19.8321.3y;.;:2 *






t r



3 2 3 42 5 3 4

:: ii


9~2.1y+; .!





822.2gi; .;

+ .2 1 2 3 . 0






lO*z.l 11+5.05+1.4821.6


7r1.5 6jl.S


:;t::;2 6 2 2 . 6




24~3.1 24tb.3





t rt rt rtr

l&ltrt r



l:r;.8trt r

2 4

::2 0

47c7.132JL 23026.62415.4






l*D.31:D.Sco. 3110.3



15i.3t r

t r0

trt r


trt r0


Echinaces an ustifolie--%r----(plrplc CDoe ower)

Gnua rioi&n var.EmDaCtM(stiffstun fler)

Psoralea teouiflora(uitd alfalfa)

Sisvrinchiun canoestre(nblte-eyed grass)

Solidan risida(ri@d @&.Wd)

Sorahasrrun rufanSfindisngress)

!l.?a&am(hoary vervain)

19861987198e1 9 8 8




1986 1to.31987 s1988 t r1989 0










1 9 8 6 8~2.7 6+1.61987 k2.2 2Tl.2198a 10*3.1 611.61989 1055.4 st2.2

1 9 8 61987198819119



t r 120.9 t r

1$.9 : ';t r 0 t r





1EO.S 422.1

19861 9 8 719881988

1986 9r2.71987 4Tl.319Sa 311.41989 3+1.2




19SS 411.31 9 8 7 822.21988 621.61 9 8 8 br1.6

1 9 8 61 9 8 7







1 9 8 6lSS71 9 8 81989

t rt r



322.0t r

221.0 327.02:l.O 2tl.S



lZ0.3t r0

t r




:t r

tit.5 b2.4llc2.6 aT2.4llT2.6 sc2.05 f l . 4 7z2.3




7+2,0 6+2.060.4 2Tl.S220.9 - 0t r 0

7+1.67:l .bl33; .4”Z-

4+1.4631 .b651.6kl .b









'W- *

t rt rt r0


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One consideration in the changes in species richness and forbcover with treatment is climate of which precipitation is animportant component. Precipitation during all post-bum yearsat the loess hills site and during the second post-bum year atthe tallgrass site averaged less than normal (fig. 1). Thedifferent responses of species diversity, both positive andnegative, to season of burning, suggest that, while a droughtyear may be a poor time to bum prairies during some seasonof a year, some other season of the same year may be areasonable time to bum. These results, if verified by furtherstudy, are particularly relevant to prairie management.Woody plant invasion threatens both loess hills (Heineman,1982) and tallgrass (Bragg and Hulbert 1976) prairie areas.This study suggests that tire, a management tool that controlswoody plant invasion, can be applied during appropriateseasons, even those of a drought year, without adverselyaffecting long-term species diversity. Further, results of thisstudy that show increased diversity with different seasons ofbum, suggest that any season of burning is better formaintaining grassland diversity than is fire exclusion. In thepresent study, this effect appears to be particularly true forthe loess hills prairie ecosystem.

While one common effect between sites was a decline in forbcover without burning, another common effect was a short-term decrease in Species Richness with summer burning (-8%for tallgrass species; -7% for loess hills species); sufficientdata were not available, however, to test for the statisticalsignificance of this difference. This overall reduction innumber with summer burning, however, did not persistbeyond the second post-bum growing season (tables 1 and 2).For example, three growing seasons after burning in the loesshills, Summer treatment plots had recovered to pm-bumnumbers. By this time, it was the Spring burned microplotsthat reflected the greatest loss of species (-5); unburnedmicroplots averaged four less and fall burned plots averagedtwo less species. For the tallgrass prairie site, four growingseasons after treatment, species richness of all but the Springtreatment (-2 species) was at pre-bum numbers. Thus, forboth the loess hills and tke tallgrass prairie ecosystcn~e~ springtreatments, which represent the most widely applied time offire management, showed the greatest long-term (f-4 year)loss of species;

Individual Species’ ResponsesThe response of individual species provides further insightinto the seasonal effect of burning on specific prairie typesand on grassland ecosystems in general. Of the severalspecies common to both sites, only big bluestem (Andropogongerarda Vitala@, g r a s:s [Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash],sideoats grama mouteloua_ curtipendula (Michx.) Torr.) , andsedge /Carex spp.) were sufficiently abundant to makecomparisons between the tallgrass and loess kills sites. Tkeresponses of all but sideoats grama were similar between sites(tables I and 2). Sideoats grama, however, declined anaverage of 11 percent with all treatments at the tallgrass sitebut was maintained at or above prebum amounts both withoutburning and with all bum treatments except spring burning(fig. 2). The most likely explanation for this difference in

40 1 Loeas Hills Prairie

LIB B3Sp B3Su B3FaTreatment

30 1 Tallgrass Prairie

q 198 6881 1967

l B B l 1988Eg 1989

Bi 1981

q 1983

19 1984

ta 1986

UB B3Sp BBSU l33FaTreatment

Fig. 2.-Sideoats grama cover for loess kills and tallgrassprairie sites contrasting the site-specific response of thisspecies to burning, Vertical lines represent one StandardError. B3 = three-year bum schedule, Sp = Spring, Su =Summer, Fa = Fall, UB = Unburned. Tallgrass site bumyear = 1983; loess hills burn years = 1986 for Fall treatmentand 1987 for Spring and Summer treatments; “-I’ for TallgrassPrairie in 1983 indicates “no data”.


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response between sites is the long history of mowingmanagement prior to the initiation of this study. Suchm?nagement would have maintained a low canopy thusenabling sideoats grama, a mid-height grass, to persist in anecosystem otherwise dominated by tall-statured species. Withthe cessation of mowing at the tallgrass prairie in 1980,canopy cover of the tall-statured component of the ecosystemincreased as evidenced, for example, by the 15 percentincrease in big bluestem and the 20 percent increase inindiangrass cover in unburned plots (table 1). The decline inmid-height and increase in tall-statured species were amplifiedby fire’s tendency to favor tallgrass species (Ehrenreich 1959;Hadley 1970). At the loess hills site, however, tallgrassspecies were only a minor component of the ecosystem thus,fue’s favoring of tallgrass species did not substantially affectthe mid-height grasses such as sideoats grama and littlebluestem (table 2). The effect of fire on a species (e.g.sideoats grama), therefore, may not operate directly on thatspecies but rather may operate indirectly by favoring anintermediate species (e.g. indiangrass) that outcompetes theshorter grasses for some limited resource such as light.

Other species, either found only at one site or found insufficient numbers only at one site, provide yet further insighton long-term management implications for prairies in general.One such insight of particular importance would be anyevidence that fire encourages seedling establishment in aprairie ecosystem. Recruitment is one of the most criticalfacets of long-term prairie management since it ensures areplacement of a spies’ population, thereby maintainingecosystem diversity over decades. No studies have beenconducted on fire-affected seedling germination andestablishment in the loess hills prairie but those in thetallgrass prairie generally show variable results. Forexample, Glenn-Lewin s & (1990) found that, in years withadequate precipitation, burning resulted in higher seedlingestablishment than occurred without burning; one species thatshowed this effect was Scribncr dichanthelium. In dry years,however, they found that burning reduced seedlingestablishment. Also noteworthy WES that, with adequateprecipitation, germination of some species (e.g. Kentuckybluegrass and prairie violet) was particularly high in either theunburned area or in areas burned the previous year.

While the present study did not focus on identification andestablishment of seedlings, one might hypothesize thatsignificant increases in canopy cover would be a logicalconsequence of such fire-initiated establishment. Initiallybeing absent or having low cover (e.g. with seedlings) growthof new plants would be reflected in a significant increases incanopy cover over a few years. Evidence for such an effectof fire was found in the tallgrass prairie with summer burningof false sunflower WeIiopsis helianthoides (L.) Sweet var.& (Dun.) Fem.] (fig. 3), summer and fall burning ofwhite aster, and fall burning of leadplant (table 1). In the

loess hills, such a response was found for prairie clover(Dalea spp.) with summer and fall burning (fig. 3). Note thatall of these seedling-initiation signatures occurred only withsummer and fall burning, which are not the normal times forprairie management burning in the tallgrass or loess hillsprairie regions. Rohn and Bragg (1989), for example, foundthat germinability of false sunflower and white prairie clover(Dalea candida Michx. a Willd) declined with springburning. These results suggest that, for the long-termmaintenance of a diverse community, occasional bums ofsome portions of an area at times of the year other thanspring may be important to ensuring the continuation of a fullcomplement of species.

1 8

1Loess Hills Prairie

1 6 T

E 14g 1 2g 1 0 n 1986

8q 1 9 8 7

a D 1988z 6 • d 1989

(3” 4


0U S 03sp 83%~



1Tallgrass Prairie

l 1981E 1 9 6 30 19840 1986

u0 t33sp B3su B3Fa


Fig. 3.-Canopy cover of Dalea spp. (prairie clover; loess hillsprairie) and false sunflower (tallgrass prairie) showing thetype of increase in cover hypothesized to reflect an increase innumber of individuals in response to summer burning.Vertical lines represent one Standard Error. B3 = three-yearbum schedule, Sp = Spring, Su = Summer, Fa = Fall, UB= Unburned; “-* for Tallgrass Prairie in 1983 indicates “nodata”. Tallgrass site bum year = 1983; loess hills bum years= 1986 for Fall treatment and 1987 for Spring and Summertreatments.


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In addition to possibly encouraging seedling success, fires atdifferent times of the year both in the loess hills and in thetailgrass prairie sites increased the cover of some species.Among the species that showed this response at the tallgrassprairie were white aster, stiffstem flax &,inum rigidum var.compactum (A. Nels.) Rogers] (fig. 4), and black-eyed Susan(Rudbeckia m L.), all of which increased with summer andfall burning; Stiffstem flax and black-eyed Susan declined incover without burning. At the loess hills site, other speciesshowed a similar response pattern including gray goldenrod(Solidago nemoralis Ait.) with fall burning (fig. 4) and, as atthe tallgrass site, stiffstem flax with summer and fall burning.Gray goldenrod, for example, declined during the four yearsof the study with all treatments except fall burning. Again,note the apparent importance of summer and fall burning tomaximizing the canopy cover these species.

Significant declines with all seasons of burning were dctcctedfor sideoats grama and rough dropseed [Snorobolus B(Michx.) Kunth] in the tallgrass prairie and silky aster (AsterL i t t l e bluestemsericeus Vent.) in the loess hills prairie.declined with summer burning in the loess hills prairie. Ashas been pointed out above, note the particular role ofsummer and fall burning in affecting species’ responses.Only candle anemone (Anemone cvlindrica A. Gray) in thetallgrass prairie site increased significantly without some firetreatment .

Some species showed significant changes irrespective oftreatment . For these, it appears that some factor other thanfue is important in explaining their response. Species thatdecreased without regard to treatment included Scribnerdichanthelium and porcupine-grass in the tallgrass prairie andwhite-eyed grass in the loess hills (tables 1 and 2). The onespecies that increased significantly was flowering spurge(Eunhorbia corollata L.).

CONCLUSIONSWhen taken in combination, the vegetative responses to firereported at the tallgrass and loess hills study sites, suggestseveral considerations. First, the same species may responddifferently in different ecosystems. This is a logicalconclusion but one that needs to be carefully consideredparticularly when developing management plans for grasslandseven withii the same general geographic area. Second, inorder to maintain long-term (many decades long) diversity ofa grassland ecosystem under relatively static climaticconditions, this study suggests that serious consideration begiven to some application of fue management at various timesof the year. While further research is clearly needed, datafrom both the tallgrass and the loess hills grasslands suggestthat successful seedling establishment, for example, mightre+re different seasons of burning. Summer and fallburning seem to be times that are most likely to encouragesuch seedling success for several species. Higher biomass

produced by some species with summer and fall bums furthersuggests the need for a consideration of occasional non-springbums.

Thus, to maintain vegetative diversity both by seedlingestablishment and by maximizing species productivity, someareas or portions of areas within a preserve should be burnedsome time during the growing season. The size of suchgrowing-season bums, however, should not be so extensive asto adversely affect the resident invertebrate population of thearea. Such small scale summer bums are probablyrepresentative of the natural ecosystem in which sufficientfuel is present to support a fire (Bragg 1982) but where theamount of green matter in the fuel bed would not havesupported a high intensity, widespread fire.

147 L0e.S.s Hills Prairie

f 121 10‘Ii: 8 n 19665 q 1967

: 64 n •d 1966 1969z

6 2

0UB B3Sp B3Su B3Fa

Tallgraas prdrie

n 1981q 1983n 1964q 1986




Fig. 4.-Canopy cover of grey goldenrod (loess hills prairie)and stiffstem flax (tallgrass prairie) indicating that theirpersistence may be dependent on summer or fall bums.Vertical lines represent one Standard Error. B3 I= three-yearbum schedule, Sp = Spring, Su = Summer, Fa = Fall, UB= Unburned; “-” for Tallgrass Prairie in 1983 indicates “nodata”. Tallgrass site bum year = 1983; loeas hills bum years= 1986 for Fall treatment and 1987 for Spring and Summertreatments.

4 2

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis study was completed with funding support from the-IowaChapter of The Nature Conservancy and the UniversityCommittee on Research, University of Nebraska at Omaha.Fire management assistance was provided by The NatureConservancy and the Plymouth County ConservationCommission. Assistance in field collections, speciesidentification, and computer graphics were provided by Dr.David M. Sutherland.

LITERATURE CITEDAbrams, M.C. 1988. Effects of burning regime on burned

seed banks and canopy coverage in a Kansas tallgrassprairie. The Southwestern Naturalist 33(1):76-70.

Adams, D.E., R.C. Anderson, and S.L. Collins. 1982.Differential response of woody and herbaceous species tosummer and winter burning in an Oklahoma grassland.Southwestern Naturalist 27(l):!%61.

Anderson, K.L. 1965. Fire ecology - Some Kansas prairieforbs. In: Proceedings of the Tall Timbers Fire EcologyConference 4:153-160.

Bartlett, P.A. 1975. Soil survey of Douglas and SarpyCounties, Nebraska. U.S. Department of Agriculture,Soil Conservation Service and University of NebraskaConservation and Survey Division. U.S. GovernmentPrinting Office, Washington D.C.; 79 pages plus maps.

Biondini, M.E., A.A. Steuter, and C.E. Grygiel. 1989.Seasonal fire effects on the diversity patterns, spatialdistribution and community structure of forbs in theNorthern Mixed Prairie, USA. Vegetatio 85(1-2):21-31.

Bragg, T.B. and L.C. Hulbert. 1976. Woody plant invasionof unburned Kansas bluestem prairie. Journal of RangeManagement 29(1):19-24.

Bragg, T.B. 1982. Seasonal variations in fuel and fuelconsumption by fves in a bluestem prairie. Ecology63(1):7-l].

Daubenmire, R. 1968. Ecology of fire in grasslands.Advances in Ecological Research 5:209-266.

Daubenmire, R. 1959. A canopy-cover method ofvegetational analysis. Northwest Science 33:43-64.

Dix, R.L. 1960 The effects of burning on the mulchstructure and species composition of grasslands in westernNorth Dakota. Ecology 41:49-56.

Ehrenreich, J.H. 1959. Effect of burning and clipping ongrowth of native prairie in Iowa. Journal of RangeManagement 12:133-137.

Engle, D.M. and P.M. Bultsma. 1984. Burning of northernmixed prairie during drought. Journal of RangeManagement 37:398-401.

Cartner, F.R., RI. Butterfield, W.W. Thompson, and L.R.Roath. 1978. Prescribed burning of range ecosystems inSouth Dakota. Pages 687-690 In: Proceedings of the FirstInternational Rangeland Congress, D.N. Hyder, editor.Society for Range Management, Denver.

Glenn-Lewin, D.C., L.A. Johnson, T.W. Jurik, A. Akey, M.Loeschke, and T. Rosburg. 1990. Fire in central NorthAmerican grasslands: Vegetative reproduction, seedgermination, and seedling establishment. Pages 28-45 In:Fire in North American tallgrass prairies (S.L. CoIIinsand L.L. Wallace, editors). University of OklahomaPress, Norman, OK. 175 pages.

Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the GreatPlains. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 1392pages.

Hadley, E.B. and B.J. Kieckhefer. 1963. Productivity oftwo prairie grasses in relation to fire frequency. Ecology44:389-395.

Hadley, E.B. 1970. Net productivity and burning responsesof native eastern North Dakota prairie communities.American Midland Naturalist 84:121-125.

Heineman, P.L. 1982. Woody plant invasion of Iowa loessbluff prairies. Masters Thesis, University of Nebraska atOmaha. 20 pages.

Henderson, R.A., D.L. Love& and E.A. Howe& 1983.The flowering responses of 7 grasses to seasonal timing ofprescribed bums in remnant Wisconsin prairie. Pages 7-10 In Proceedings of the Eighth North American PrairieConference, R. Brewer, editor. Department of Biology,Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. 176 P.

Hensel, R.L. 1923. Recent studies on the effect of burningon grassland vegetation. Ecology 4:183-188

Hopkins, H., F.W. Albertson, and A. Riegd. 1948. Someeffects of burning upon a prairie in west-central Kansas.Kansas Academy of Science Transactions 51:131-141.

Hover, E.I. and T.B. Bragg. 1981. Effect of season ofburning and mowing on an eastern Nebraska m-Andronoeon prairie. American Midland Naturalist105(1):13-18.


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Hulbert, L.C. 1988. Causes of fire effects in tallgrassprairie. Ecology 69(1):46-58.

Huntly, N. and R. Inouye. 1988. Pocket gophers inecosystems: patterns and mechanisms. Bioscience38(11):787-793.

Kozlowski, T.T. and C.E. Ahlgren. 1974. Fire andEcosystems. Academic Press Inc., San Francisco. 542 p.

Lovell, D.L., R.A. Henderson, and E.A. Howell. 1983.The response of forb species to seasonal timing ofprescribed bums in remnant Wisconsin prairies. Pages11-15 In Proceedings of the Eighth North AmericanPrairie Conference, R. Brewer, editor. Department ofBiology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.176 p .

McMurphy, W.E. and K.L. Anderson. 1965. Burning FlintHills range. Journal of Range Management 18:265-269.

Moore, C.T. 1972. Man and fire in the central NorthAmerican Grassland, 1535-1890: A documentaryhistorical geography. PhD Dissertation, University ofCalifornia, Los Angeles, CA. 155 p.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 1989a.Local climatological data: Annual summary withcomparative data - Omaha (North), Nebraska. NationalClimatic Data Center, Asheville, NC. 8 p.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 1989b.Local Climatological Data: Annual Summary withComparative Data - Sioux City, Iowa. National ClimaticData Center, Asheville, North Carolina. 8 pages.

Old, S.M. 1969. Microclimate, fire, and plant production inan Blinois prairie. Ecological Monographs 39:355-384.

Risser, P.G., E.C. Birney, H.D. Blocker, S.W. May, W.J.Parton, J.A. Wiens (editors). 1981. The true prairieecosystem. Hutchinson Ross Publishing Co.,Stroudsburg, PA. 557 p.

Robocker, C.W. and B.J. Miller. 1955. Effects of clipping,burning, and competition on establishment and survival ofsome native grasses in Wisconsin. Journal of RangeManagement 8:11’7-121.

Rohn, S.R. and T.B. Bragg. 1989. Effect of burning ongermination of tallgrass prairie plant species. Pages 169-171 In Proceedings of the Eleventh North AmericanPrairie Conference, Bragg T.B. and J. Stubbendieck(editors). University of Nebraska Printing, Liicoln, NE.293 pages.

Ruyle, G.B., B.A. Roundy, and J.R. Cox. 1988. Effects ofburning on germinability of Lehmann lovegrass. Journalof Range Management 41(5):404-406.

Schripsema, J.R. 1977. Ecological changes on pine-grassland burned in spring, late spring, and winter. M.A.Thesis, Biology and Botany Department, South DakotaState University, Brookings. 99 p.

Schwegman, J.E. and W.E. McClain. 1985. Vegetativeeffects and management implications of a fall prescribedbum on an Blinois hill prairie. Natural Areas Journal5(3):4-8.

Steuter, A.A. 1987. C& production shift on seasonalbums - Northern Mixed Prairie. Journal of RangeManagement 40(1):27-31.

Towne, G. and C. Owensby. 1984. Long-term effects ofannual burning at different dates in ungrazed KansasTallgrass prairie. Journal of Range Management37(5):392-397.

Vogel, R.J. 1974. Effect of tire on grasslands. Pp. 139-194In: Fire and Ecosystems, T.T. Kozlowski and C.E.Ahlgren, editors. Academic Press, NY. 542 p.

Whisenant, S.G. and D.W. Uresk. 1989. Burning upland,mixed prairie in Badlands National Park. PrairieNaturalist 21(4):221-227.

White R.S. and P.O. Cunie. 1983. Prescribed burning inthe northern Great Plains: Yield and cover responses of 3forage species in the Mixed Grass Prairie. Journal ofRange Management 36(2):179-183.

Worster, J.R. and E.H. Harvey. 1976. Soil Survey ofPlymouth County, Iowa. U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Soil Conservation Service, Iowa Agricultureand Home Economics Experiment Station and CooperativeExtension Service, Iowa State University, and Departmentof Soil Conservation, State of Iowa. U.S. GovernmentPrinting Office, Washington D.C. 75 pages plus maps.

Wright, H.A. and J.O. Klemmedson. 1965. Effect of fire inbunchgrasses of the sagebrush-grass region in southernIdaho. Ecology 46:680-688.

Wright, H.A. and A.W. Bailey. 1982. Fire Ecology: UnitedStates and Southern Canada. John Wiley and Sons, NewYork. 501 p.

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Thomas A. Waldrop and F. Thomas Lloyd’

Abstract-Several combinations of season and frequency of burning were applied in Coastal Plain loblollypine (Pinus taeda L.) stands over a 40-year period. Pine growth was unaffected by treatment. Above-ground portions of small hardwoods (less than 12.5 cm d.b.h.) were killed and replaced by numeroussprouts. With annual summer burning, sprouts were replaced by grasses and forbs. Study resultsemphasize the resilience of southern forests to low-intensity burning and that frequent burning over a longperiod is needed to produce significanl changes to forest StNCNIX and species composition.

INTRODUCTIONIt is well established in the literature and in other papers atthis symposium that frte has been a major ecological force inthe evolution of southern forests. Ecological andmeteorological evidence suggest that lightning-caused fireswere a major force in creating open pine forests in theSoutheast (Komarek 1974). Archeological evidence hasestablished the presence of Paleo-Indians in the region asearly as 12,000 years ago (Chapman 1985). The movementof Indian tribes for game and cropland crested variablepatterns of fue frequency across the landscape, thusproducing a mosaic of vegetation types and stand ages(Buckner 1989). Southeastern forests described by the fustwhite settlers of the 1600’s and 1700’s were often open pineand hardwood stands with grasses underneath. Early writerssuggested these open forests owed their existence to frequentburning (Bartram 1791; Harper 1962; Van Lear and Waldrop1989). Frequent burning continued through the early 1900’s,when fue protection policies of the U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service, and cooperating State Forestryagencies attempted to prevent the use of fue. Prescribedburning for fuel reduction gained acceptance in the 1940’s and1950’s, but only after a series of wildfues showed thedisastrous consequences of fm exclusion (Pyne 1982). As aresult, contemporary forests developed with a denseunderstory and a larger hardwood component.

It can be difficult to appreciate the important role of fire inshaping the species composition and structure of Southeasternforests. The changes fire causes in plant communities can beslow and depend on fire intensity, the season and frequency ofburning, and the number of successive fires used.Opportunities to observe changes in vegetative characteristicsover long periods are limited. A long-term study by theSoutheastern Forest Experiment Station may give anindication of the ecological role fire once played. Theexperiment, known as the Santee Fire Plot Study, wasestablished in 1946. Various combinations of season and

‘Research Forester and Project Leader, Southeastern ForestExperiment Station, USDA Forest Service, Clemson, SC.

frequency of burning were maintained for over 40 years.Previous papers have compared the effects of these variousfire regimes on pine growth, understory vegetation, and soilproperties at specific years during the study. This paperdiscusses changes to the structure and species composition ofthe overstory and midstory as they occurred over time andrelates those changes to presettlement fire frequency andeffects. Changes to understory vegetation after 43 years ofburning are presented in another paper in these proceedings(White and others 1991).

DESCRWI’ION OF THE STUDYStudy plots are on the Santee Experimental Forest in BerkeleyCounty, SC, and on the Westvaco Woodlands in neighboringGeorgetown County. Both areas are on a Pleistocene terraceon the Lower Coastal Plain at 7.5 to 9.0 m above sea level.Soils include a variety of series but are generally described aspoorly drained Ultisols of medium to heavy texture (McKee1982). Soils are considered productive with a site index of 27to 30 m for loblolly pine at age 50. In 1946, the overstory ofboth study sites consisted of unmanaged, but well-stockedeven-aged stands of loblolly pine. Common midstory specieswere dogwood (Comus florida L.), hickory (Carva SD.),southern red oak (Ouercus falcata Michx.), post oak (Q.stellata Wangenh.), water oak (Q. & L.), and willow oak(Q. Dhelios L.). The Santee stand was 42 years old when thestudy was initiated, while the Westvaco stand was 36 yearsold. Both stands resulted from natural regeneration afterlogging. No evidence of previous burning was observed.

Six treatment plots, 0.1 ha in size, were established in each offive replications. Three replications are on the SanteeExperimental Forest and two are on the Westvaco woodlands.Treatments include: (1) periodic winter burning, (2) periodicsummer burning, (3) biennial summer burning, (4) annualwinter burning, (5) annual summer burning, and (6) anunburned control. All winter burning was done on December1 or as soon afterward as weather permitted. Summerburning was done on or soon after June 1. Periodic bumswere conducted when 25 percent of the understory hardwoodstems reached 2.5 cm in diameter at breast height (d.b.h.).


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This prescription resulted in variable burning intervalsranging from 3 to 7 years. Annual burning has not beeninterrupted since 1946. Biennial summer burning was addedto the study in 1951.

To protect the study, burning techniques were selected toensure low fire intensity. Selection was made at the time ofburning based on prevalent fuel and weather conditions. Ingeneral, backing fues were used on periodically burned plotsthat had thick underbrush or when hot and dry weatherincreased the risk of high-intensity fires. Headfues or stripheadfires were used on annually burned plots that had littleunderbrush or when fuels were too moist to support a backingfire.

OVERSTORY PINESLoblolly pine remained the dominant overstory species in allstudy plots from 1946 to the present. However, growth ratesmay have been affected. The Santee Fire Plots were designedto study effects on understory vegetation with littleconsideration to tree growth. Detailed records of the numberand size of trees were not kept throughout the history of thestudy. Therefore, comparisons of treatment effects ondiameter and height growth were conducted throughincrement core analysis and stem analysis procedures,respectively. A more detailed description of these methodswas given by Waldrop and others (1987).

Basal area per hectare for each burning treatment throughoutthe study is shown in figure 1. Since records of treemortality were not kept, figure 1 represents the basal area ofonly those trees that survived until the time of sampling(1984). Differences in the levels of these curves representdifferences in numbers and sizes of trees in treatment plots in1984, rather than treatment effects. If burning treatmentsalter tree growth rates, the effect would be shown as

Poflodlc wlntorAnnual Wlntof

c - Annual Summw

. . . Pwbdlt Summrr

Years Slncc Study Establishment

Figure 1 .-Cumulative basal area of trees surviving from 1946through 1984 by burning treatment.

differences in the slopes of these curves rather thandifferences in the relative heights. All curves in tigure 1 aregenerally parallel, indicating that burning did not affectdiameter growth. Basal area increment during each of fourIO-year periods was subjected to analysis of covariance, usingmeasured stand basal area to adjust growth rates for stockingeffects. These tests indicated that differences between theslopes of lines were not significant for any period(alpha=O.OS).

Mean tree height for each treatment throughout the lives ofthese stands is shown in figure 2. Curves are very closetogether, indicating that trees in various treatment plots hadsimilar height growth patterns. During the last 30 years,trees in plots burned annually in winter or summer appear tohave slightly reduced height growth. These differences werenot significant, however, when compared by analysis ofvariance (alpha=O.OS).

*IS ’ 4 , I I I t I0 10 20 Jo 40 60 (10 70 a0

Yoerr Since Stand Eatablirhment

Figure ‘L.-Mean height of sampled trees by burning treatmentfrom 1905 through 1984.

The lack of differences in diameter and height growth wasunexpected. We expected that these low-intensity fires wouldnot cause enough crown damage to reduce growth, and thatvegetation control and increased soil fertility resulting fromprescribed burning would improve growth. However,overstory pines averaged 40 years old at the beginning of thestudy and were probably too old to respond by the time thesesite changes reached meaningful levels. Even though McKee(1982) showed increases in phosphorus and calciumavailability, no fertilization studies in the Coastal Plain haveshown positive responses to these elements in trees of thisage. In addition, soil moisture is rarely limiting to pinegrowth on these poorly drained Coastal Plain sites, even whencompeting vegetation is not controlhA.

4 6

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Diameter DistributionSpecies composition of midstory vegetation changed littlesince study establishment. Dogwood, hickory, and oaks haveremained common on alJ treatment plots since 1946.However, repeated measurements of the midstory show thatdiameter distribution of these hardwoods has been changed bythe various combinations of season and frequency of burning.The d.b.h. of alJ hardwoods in all plots was measured atstudy establishment (1946), at year 20 (1966), and at year 30(1976). Later descriptions are unavailable due to severedamage from Hurricane Hugo in September 1989. Stemnumbers in each of five diameter classes (< 2.5 cm, 2.6-7.5cm, 7.6-12.5 cm, 12.6-17.5 cm, and 17.5+ cm) were used asdependent variables in a split-plot design of an analysis ofvariance to compare treatment differences over time. Whole-plot effects were those created by burning treatments whilethe years since study establishment were sub-plot effects.Mean separation was by linear contrast (alpha = 0.05).

At the beginning of the study, unburned control plotsappeared to be undisturbed. Every size class of hardwoodsfrom less than 2.5 cm to over 17.5 cm d.b.h. was present(fig. 3A). Diameter distribution followed a reverse-J patternwith numerous stems in small size classes and few stems inlarger classes. The number of stems in each size class variedsomewhat over time as individual trees grew into largerclasses. However, the reverse-J pattern remained.

Hardwood diameter distributions were altered by periodicwinter bums and periodic summer bums. For bothtreatments, the number of stems in the smallest size class(O-2.5 cm) increased significantly between year 0 and year 20and between year 20 and year 30 (figs. 3B and 3C).Hardwood numbers in the next two classes (2.6-7.5 cm and7.6-12.5 cm) decreased significantly over the same periods.With periodic summer burning, the smallest size classincreased from approximately 11,000 to over 19,000 stemsper hectare by year 30. The 2.6- to 7.5-cm size class wasmost affected, decreasing from over 1,100 to approximately100 stems per hectare in both periodic treatments. Mostchanges occurred during the first 20 years, but the changescontinued at a reduced rate through year 30.

Hardwoods greater than 12.5 cm d.b.h. were generallyunaffected by periodic winter and summer burning (figs. 3Band 3C). At the beginning of the study, these trees were oldenough to be protected by thick bark and tall enough thattheir buds were protected. Most stems less than 12.5 cmd.b.h. were too small to survive burning. However, root

systems of these smaller trees survived and produced multiplesprouts, causing the increase in stem numbers in the smallestsize class. Bums were frequent enough to prevent the growthof sprouts into a larger size class. Fewer than 10 percent ofthe trees in the 2.6- to 7.5-cm d.b.h. class survived until year30. Trees of this intermediate size class are susceptible totop-kill from occasional flareups or hot spots. Since hot spotsoccur more often during the summer, fewer trees of this sizeclass survived periodic summer bums than periodic winterbums.

Annual winter burning caused changes in the hardwood d.b.h.distribution similar to periodic winter and summer burning.Most stems in the 2.6 to 7.5-cm d.b.h. class were top-killedor girdled during the first few years. Stem numbers in thissize class were significantly reduced (from approximately1,200 per hectare to less than 100) by year 20, with noadditional reduction through year 30 (fig. 3D). The numberof stems per hectare in the smallest d.b.h. class (O-2.5 cm)increased dramatically over the 30-year period. By year 20,this size class had increased significantly from 16,000 to21,000 stems per hectare. Between years 20 and 30, thatnumber increased to over 47,000 per hectare. Most of thesestems were sprouts less than 1 m talJ. Since annual winterbums allow sprouts a full growing season to recover fromfme, many root systems survived and produced largernumbers of sprouts after each fire. In year 44, White andothers (1991) found a slight decrease in the number of stemsper hectare in annual winter bum plots and a substantialdecrease in cover by woody plants. Even though sprouts arestill numerous, these decreases may indicate declining sproutvigor.

Annual summer burning has nearly eliminated woodyvegetation in the 0- to 2.5-cm d.b.h. class (fig. 3E). Rootsystems were probably weakened by burning during thegrowing season when carbohydrate reserves were low.Burning was frequent enough to kill root systems of allhardwoods less than 7.5 cm d.b.h. during the first 20 years.A few hardwood seedlings appeared each spring but did notsurvive the next fue. As with other treatments, the numberof stems between 2.6 and 12.5 cm d.b.h. was significantlyreduced by annual summer burning and the majority of thechange occurred during the fust 20 years. Stem numbers ofhardwoods over 12.5 cm d.b.h. were unaffected by annualsummer burning.

Root MortalityPatterns of hardwood rootstock mortality observed during thefirst few years on the Santee Fii Plots prompted investigatorsto expand the study. In 1951, biennial summer burning wasadded to provide a comparison with annual summer burningto study root system survival for four hardwood species(Langdon 1981). Individual trees were observed repeatedly to


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Year0 YW20 Y0W30

A Unburned Controls

100,000 lOQDb0

10,mo lb,@30

2 1,060 2

k k1,Dbo

g loo 6 1mtj G

10 10

0 0Year 0 Year20 Year 30 Year0 Y0W20 Year 30

8. Periodic Winter Burns C. Periodic Summer Burns





glDm 2



ii imi i i i 3rn

2310 10

0 0

Year0 Year20 Y-30 Year0 Year 20 Year 30

D. Annual Winter Burns E. Annual Summer Burns

Figure 3.--Diameter distribution of all hardwoods at selected years for (a) unburned control plots, @) period winter bumplots, (c) periodic summer bum plots, (d) annual winter bum plots, and (e) annual summer bum plots.

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determine Ihe number of bums required to kill their rootsystems. With annual summer burning (fig. 4A), mortalitywas rapid for sweetgum (Lictuidambar stvraciflua L.) andwaxmyrtle (Mvrica cerifera L.), nearing 100 percent within 8years. Oaks and blackgum m svlvatica Marsh.) weremore difficult to kili, requiring approximately 20 years toreach I00 percent mortality. Biennial summer burning (fig.4B) was less effective in killing root systems of all speciestested. After 26 years (13 bums), mortality among the oakspecies remained less than 50 percent. With biennial burning,root systems have an entire growing season to recover.

Apparently, that time is sufficient for carbohydrate reserves toaccumulate enough to allow some resistance to fire.

-..- Swrrtgum. . *. . Dlackgum- O*kD---W4xmyftlr

00 6 10 1 6 a0 as

Y8W8A. Annual Summer Burn

-es- Bwr*lpma. - -. Bkckpum-O&C- - - Waxmyfllm

4 (I 10 16 10 26YDDW

8. Blannlrl Summer Burn

Figure 4.-Cumulative mortality of hardwood roots over 26years of (a) annual summer burning and (b) biennial summerburning (Langdon 1981).

Species CompositionSurvival of hardwoods over 12.5 cm d.b.h. was unaffected byburning treatments and, therefore, changes in speciescomposition among larger trees were not observed. Themajor effect of burning treatments was to kill theaboveground portion of stems smaller than 12.5 cm d.b.h.With most burning treatments, however, root systems

survived and sprouted. If burning was stopped or delayed,sprouts would eventually grow into the midstory producing astand with species similar to unburned controls. Variationsamong species in plants’ abilities to regenerate after fuecreated changes in the species composition of regeneration(fig. 5). In year 44, control plots were covered mostly byshrubs with some grasses and hardwoods (White and others1991). Total coverage was increased by periodic winter andsummer bums due to increased sprouting of hardwoods andshrubs. Total coverage after annual winter bums was greaterthan in control plots, but species composition had changed.Burning greatly reduced the shrub component, which wasreplaced by grasses and forbs. However, numerous hardwoodsprouts remained. Annual summer burning was the onlytreatment which eliminated regeneration of hardwoods. Inthese plots, the shrubs and hardwoods that were dominant in1946 were replaced entirely by grasses’and forbs.


Byrnlng TreatmentFigure 5.-Percent crown coverage of all understory plantaafter 44 years of prescribed burning (White and others 1991).

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONSAll tree species on the Santee Fi Plots were well adapted tofrequent low-intensity burning. Thick bark and high crownsprotected the pines from damage and no growth loss wasdetected. Hardwoods over 12.5 cm d.b.h. were protected bythick bark and most survived. During the first few years ofthe study, most hardwoods below 12.5 cm d.b.h. were eithertop killed or girdled, particularly by summer burning.However, root systems survived and produced multiplesprouts Annual summer burning over a 20-year period wasthe only treatment that eliminated hardwood sprouts.

The response of tree species to these long-term prescribedburning treatments was considered minimal. Only one majortrend was observed. Small hardwoods were replaced by Largenumbers of sprouts during the early years of the study.Later, those sprouts were replaced by grasses and forbs. The


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gradual change from small hardwoods to grasses and forbswas completed by only the most intensive treatment, annualsummer burning. White and others (1991) provide evidencethat sprout vigor is decreased by annual winter burning,suggesting that these sprouts may eventually be eliminated.However, a large regeneration Pool of hardwoods stiU existsafter 44 years of treatment. Periodic bums did little to reducenumbers or vigor of hardwood sprouts.

Hardwood sprout survival was affected by the season andfrequency of burning (Langdon 1981). Hot summer firesconducted each year when carbohydrate reserves are lowproduced relatively rapid (20 years) mortality of hardwoodrootstocks. Periodic winter, Periodic summer, and annualwinter burning allow at least one growing season for sproutsto store carbohydrate reserves in root systems and, therefore,resist mortality. Without annual summer fues, it isquestionable whether hardwood sprouts can be eliminated byfue.

This study emphasizes that frequent fires over long periodsare needed to create and maintain the open character of pineforests described by early explorers in the Southeast.Periodic burning over 40 years did little to eliminatehardwoods and supported a dense understory shrub layer.Annual winter bums maintain an open understory withvegetation generally leas than 1 m tall. However, thatunderstory includes numerous woody sprouts and a densehardwood midstory would return if burning was delayed a fewyears. Of all treatments tested, only annual summer bumsproduced an open understory with no hardwood regeneration.However, presettlement forests did not support the midstoryhardwoods present in study plots. In addition to frequentlow-intensity fires, an occasional high-intensity fue or otherdisturbance would elimiiate large hardwoods.

Although the Santee Fii Plot Study provides information onthe frequency and number of fires ~+ired to create andmaintain open pine forests, differences exist between itscontrofled experimental conditions and the environment ofpresettlement fires. Annual fires set by Indians werecontrolled only by weather and geographic barriers.Therefore, fue intensity was probably higher than in theSantee study. Also, large herds of deer (Odocoileusvirpinianus) browsed the open forests and grasslands. Hotterfires and intense browsing would cause higher mortality ratesof hardwood sprouts. The Santee Fire Plots were dominatedby loblolly pine, which was much less common than longleafpine (Pinus oalustris Mill.) prior to the 26th century.S i n c eloblolly pine seedlings are susceptible to fire, pineregeneration is unlikely to escape the frequent fires on studyplots. Seedlings of longleaf pine are resistant to fire duringthe grass stage. Prior to the 20th century, longleaf pineseedlings probably escaped to form the overstory during shortgaps in fire frequency or in localized areas where fireintensity was low.

LITERATURE CITEDBartram, William. 1791. Travel through North and South

Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida. New York:Dover Publications, Inc. 414 pp.

Buckner, Edward. 1989. Evolution of forest types in theSoutheast. In: Waldrop, Thomas A., ed. Proceedings ofpine-hardwood mixtures: a symposium on managementand ecology of the type; 1989 April 18-19; Atlanta, GA.Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-58. Asheville, NC: U.S. Departmentof Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern ForestExperiment Station: 27-33.

Chapman, Jefferson. 1985. Telico archeology: 12,000 yearsof Native American history. Knoxville: Tennessee ValleyAuthority.

Harper, Roland M. 1962. Historical notes on the relation offires to forests. In: Proceedings, Tall Timbers fueecology conference 1: 1 l-29.

Komarek, E.V., Sr. 1974. Effects of fire on tempetateforests and related ecosystems: Southeastern UnitedStates. pp. 251-277. In: Kozlowslci, T.T.; Ahlgren, C.E.,eds. Fire and Ecosystems. New York: Academic Press.

Langdon, 0. Gordon. 1981. Some effects of prescribed fireon understory vegetation in loblolly pine stands. pp.143-153. In: Wood, Gene W.. ed. Prescribed fue andwildlife in southern forests: Proceedings of a symposium.Georgetown, SC: The Belle W. Baruch Institute ofClemson University.

McKee, William H., Jr. 1982. Changes in soil fertilityfollowing prescribed burning on Coastal Plain pine sites.Res. Pap. SE-234. Asheville, NC: U. S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service, Southeastern ForestExperiment Station. 23 pp.

Pyne, Stephen J. 1982. Fire in America. Princeton, NJ:Princeton University Press. 654 pp.

Van Lear, David J-I.; Waldrop, Thomas A. 1989. History,use, and effects of fire in the Appalachians. Gen. Tech.Rep. SE-54. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service, Southeastern ForestExperiment Station. 20 pp.

Waldrop, Thomas A.; Van Lear, David H.; Lloyd, F.Thomas; Harms, William R. 1987. Long-term studies ofprescribed burning in loblolly pine forests of theSoutheastern Coastal Plain. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE&.Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, ForestService, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. 23 pp.

White, David L.; Waldrop, Thomas A.; Jones, Steven M.1991. Forty years of prescribed burning on the SanteeFii Plots: effects on understory vegetation. meseproceedings .] .


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David L. White, Thomas A. Waldrop, and Steven M. Jones’

Abstract-The effects of 43 years of repeated prescribed burning on crown cover, species composition,species richness, and diversity in the lower understory strata of the Santee Fire Plots were examined. Fivestudy treatments, installed in 1946, include an unburned control, periodic winter and summer bums, andannual winter and summer bums. Understory cover has not changed in the past 20 years except in theannual winter bum plots where cover of trees ( I.5 m in height declined and grass cover increased.Detrended correspondence analysis indentilied four distinct understory plant communitites corresponding toseason and frequency of bum. Distribution of understory species across a fire disturbance gradient isdiscussed in terms of varying plant adaptations to fire. Species richness, when separated into herbaceousand woody species groups, and Shannon’s diversity index varied significantly across treatments.

INTRODUCTIONThe Santee Fire Plot (SFP) study in the Francis MarionNational Forest provides a unique opportunity to examine theresponse of understory vegetation to long-term use of several

combinations of season and frequency of burning. Severalstudies have examined the effects of single or repeatedprescribed fires on understory vegetation (Abrahamson 1984;Conde and others 1983; Cushwa and others 1966, 1969;DeSelm and others 1974; Fox and Fox 1986; Gilliam andChristensen 1986; Grano 1970; Grelen 1975; Hodgkins 1958;Lemon 1949, 1967), but none of these studies was conductedover a period as long as the period of the SFP study.Prescribed burning in lobloily pine stands on the SFP wasinitiated in 1946 and continued without interruption until1989, when the overstory pines were destroyed by HurricaneHugo.

Previous SFP studies focused on the effect of prescribed fireon understory vegetation (Langdon 1971, 1981; Lewis andHarshbarger 1976; Lotti 1955, 1956; Lotti and others 1960),benefits to wildtife (Lewis and Harshbarger 1976) and soilchemical changes (Wells 1971; McKee 1982). Waldrop andothers (1987) summarized the effects of the various treatmentson the growth of overstory pines after 40 years. Lewis andHarshbarger (1976) reported the effects of prescribed fire onshrub and herbaceous vegetation in the plots after 20 years.On the basis of information developed by Lewis andHarshbarger (1976), Langdon (1981), Waldrop and others(1987), and Waldrop and Lloyd (1991), the followinggeneralizations can be made regarding the effects of long-termuse of prescribed fue on understory vegetation in the SFP: (1)the unburned control plots were dominated by several sizeclasses of shrub and hardwood species and contained only

‘Ecologist, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Clemson, SC;Research Forester, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Clemson,SC; and Assistant Professor, Department of Forcsr Resources,Clemson University, Clemson, SC.

small numbers of grasses and virtually no forbs; (2) plots thatwere burned periodically contained two distinct size classes ofunderstory hardwoods (> 15 cm and <5 cm d.b.h.) andherbaceous species, most of which were grasses; (3) annualwinter and biennial summer bums resulted in large numbersof woody stems < 1 m taU and many grasses and forbs; and(4) annual summer burning virtually eliminated understorywoody vegetation, and produced an understory dominated bygrasses and forbs.

This paper describes differences among plant communities inthe Santee Fire Plots after 43 years of prescribed burning.More specifically, we compare the understory plantcommunities in the context of plant species composition,species richness, and diversity. We also sought to determinewhether there have been any changes in understory speciescomposition since year 20 (1967).


Site DescriptionThe SFP study was originally designed with three replicationson the Santee Experimental Forest in Berkeley County, SC,and two replications on the Westvaco Woodlands inGeorgetown, SC. The Westvaco plots were regenerated in1984 so the present study is confined to the three Santeereplications. Study plots are located on the upper terrace ofthe coastal flatwoods region of the Flatwoods Coastal PlainProvince, at an elevation of 9.0 m above sea level (Meyersand others 1986). They contain a variety of soil series, whichare generally described as poorly drained Ultisols of mediumto heavy texture.

Study DesignThe SFP study was initiated in 1946 in 42-year-old naturallyregenerated loblolly pine with a we&developed understory ofhardwoods @ost oak, blackjack oak, southern red oak,


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dogwood, American holly, miscellaneous hickories,sweetgum, and blackgum) and shrubs (bayberry, pepperbush,and gallberry). Initially, five treatments were installed: (1) no-bum control, (2) periodic winter bum, (3) periodic summerbum, (4) annual winter bum and (5) annual summer bum. Anadditional treatment, biennial summer bum, was installed in195 1. Because of recent insect-related mortality in some plotsof the biennial summer bum, it was not included in thiss tudy .

Winter burning was conducted as soon as possible afterDecember 1 of each year when the temperature was 16 “C(60 “F) or higher. Summer burning was conducted after June1 when the temperature was 32 “C (90 “F) or higher. Burningwas conducted only when relative humidity was less than 50Percent, wind speed was 1 to 7 mi/h and fuel moisture was <10 percent. Backing fires were used initially; later, head fires(strip and flanking) were used in the annual bum plots.Periodic bums were conducted when 25 percent of theunderstory stems reached 2.5 cm dbh. The average buminterval for periodic bums was 5 years. More detailed sitedescriptions can be found in Lotti (1960) and Waldrop andothers (1987).

For sampling understory vegetation, a 25- by 25-m sampleplot was established within each of the 32- by 32-m treatmentplots. TWO 25-m line transects were randomly located in eachsample plot to determine percent crown cover for thefollowing species groups: grasses, legumes, other herbs,woody vines, shrubs, and trees. The vegetation sampled inthis study was the lower understory, which was defined asplants 5 1.5 m tall or plants having a majority of their crownat or below a height of 1.5 m. Cover was determined along a25-m line transect by measuring the portion of a crownintersected by the 25-m Line. Where two or more crownsoverlapped, the overlapping sections of the lower crown(s)were not included.

Two 05 by 2-m subplots were randomly located along each25-m transect (four subplots per piot) to measure stem densityor abundance. AIJ plants were identified to species or genusand the number of plants per species or genus was recorded.In measuring abundance of plants that sprout from roots orrhizomes, no attempt was made to determine whether a clumpof stems was associated with just one individual or many.Species not encountered in the four subplots were tallied intwo l- by 25-m subplots, each of which was located adjacentto a 25-m transect. The larger subplots (I- by 25-m) wereused primarily to sample relatively uncommon species.Species not encountered in subplots of either size butoccurring in a 25 by 25-m sample plot were listed as presentbut not tallied. The species and density data were used todetermine species diversity and richness.

Data AnalysisAnalysis of variance was used to test for significant treatmentand block effects on species richness and diversity. Meanseparation was by Fisher’s unprotected LSD test (StatisticalAnalysis System (SAS) 1987). Species richness is the totalnumber of species in a given area. The Shannon-Weaverindex was used as a measure of species diversity and wascalculated as:

ti = -~@JnpJwhere p,=proportion of individuals of species i to the totalnumber of individuals of all species (base e logarithms areused here).

Detrended Correspondence Analysis (Gauche 1982; Hill 1979;Hill and Gauche 1980) was used to interpret the variation invegetation composition among treatments. The techniquegroups plots or communities based on similarity of speciescomposition and relative abundance. The degree of differencebetween plots is indicated by standard deviation (S.D.) units.A separation of communities by four S.D. units generallyindicates that the two communities have no species incommon, while one S.D. unit indicates approximately a SO-percent difference in species composition (Hill 1979; Hill andGauche 1980).


Changes in Understory Cover Between 1967and 1989Lewis and Harshbarger (1976) reported on the status ofherbacwus and shrub vegetation after 20 years of prescribedburning on the SFP. We chose to compare percent cover byspecies group at year 43 with their data to determine whethervegetation changes had occwred since their 1967 study. Onlythe no-bum, periodic summer, and annual winter treatmentswere compared, because the interval between burning andsampling was not always the same in both studies.In the no-bum treatments (fig. la), both shrub and tree coverdeclined over the 23-year period. Some trees and shrubsformerly in the understory grew into the midstory. Also,midstory hardwoods that were present in 1967 continued togrow, further reducing the amount of light reaching the forestfloor.

In the periodic summer bum plots (fig. lb), there were fewchanges between years 20 and 43. At both times, theunderstory was dominated by shrubs and trees. A slightincrease in total cover (all species) may have been caused byincreased sprouting of trees and shrubs (Langdon 1981).

Greater changes were observed in the annual winter bumplots (fig. lc). From year 20 to year 43, tree cover declinedand grass cover increased. Little change was observed for theother species groups. Although tree cover declined, thenumber of hardwood stems (44,700 stems ha-‘) was similar to


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K cW> 6c0 500 40

2 30

8 20

c1L lo

k O60

( a:

1967 1989Kl TREES17751 O T H E R


the number reported by Langdon (1981) at year 30 (47,000stems ha-‘). This pattern suggests that hardwood sprouts aresmaller than before and that frequent winter burning mayreduce sprout vigor over time. The increased importance ofgrasses in these plots may be a response to the decline in treecover or it may have contributed to that decline. While themajority of vegetation changes in annual winter bum plotsoccurred early in the SFP study, our results indicate that thefrequent but relatively mild disturbance associated with thistreatment continues to cause changes in vegetation overextended periods of time.

Plant Community Differences

Community AnalysisDetrended correspondence analysis identified four distinctvegetative communities that were associated with season andfrequency of burning (fig. 2). AnnuaI summer bums, annualwinter bums, Periodic bums, and no-bum controls produceddistinctive communities. Differences between treatments wereless distinct for the periodically burned plots and the controlplots, where woody vegetation predominated. The understorycommunities produced by periodic winter and summerburning were very similar. The distribution of plots along theX axis leads us to interpret this axis as a tire-mediateddisturbance gradient. The relatively large magnitude ofdifference across treatments (3.5 S.D. units) indicates thatbeta diversity, or between-community diversity, is high and isaffected by season and frequency of burning. Separationsalong the Y axis are less easily understood, but areinterpreted as representing a natural variability gradient.Variability in species composition within a community typedecreases as the level of burning increases.

The distribution of species along a fire disturbance gradientreflects the species fire tolerance and competitive vigor. Table1 is a species synthesis table, as described by Mueller-Dombois and Ellenburg (1974), showing the relativeabundance of each species in each treatment plot. This list hasbeen edited to contain only differential species, or thosespecies that demonstrate clear associations for a giventreatment or treatments. The 32 species in this table wereplaced in 5 groups based on their affinity for a giventreatment or treatments. Detrended correspondence analysisindicated that the periodic winter and summer burn plots werevegetatively similar and since our sampling of the vegetationtook place during the growing season following the burning ofthe periodic winter plots, only the periodic summer bumtreatment is shown in table 1.

Figure I-Understory cover by treatment, 1967 and 1989.Treatments: (a) no-bum control, (b) Periodic summer bum,(c) annual winter bum. 1967 data are from Lewis andHarshbarger (1976).


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1.0 2 . 0 3 . 0 4 . 0AXIS 1

(Standard Deviation units)

Figure 2-Results of detrended correspondence analysis of all understory plants in alI treatment plots. Treatments indicatedby the following codes: AS=annual summer bum, AW=annual winter bum, PS=periodic summer bum, PW=periodicwinter burn, N=no-bum control. Lines are drawn to show separation between dissimilar groups of plots. See text forexplanation of axes.

With few exceptions, groups 1, 2, and 3 are herbaceousplants that have been described as “fire followers” (Lemon1949, 1967). Many of these plants are also associated withearly successional plant communities following non-firedisturbance. Other species, such as the legumes, are known tobenefit directly from the effects of fire (Cushwa and others1969; Martin and Cushwa 1966; Martin and others 1975).The species in group 1 are found almost entirely in the annualsummer bum plots. These are generally opportunistic speciesthat lack the competitive vigor to become established in otherburned plots, where more vigorous grasses and woody plantspredominate. Species in group 2 are most common in theannual winter bum plots, but some of the legume species arealso common in the periodic summer or annual summer bumplots. Generally, group 2 species are less tolerant of annualsummer burning and do not compete well with the hardierwoody vegetation characteristic of the periodically burnedplots. The relatively low abundance of legumes in plots thathave been burned every summer may result from the lack offull growing seasons in which to partition photosynthate intoperennial rootstocks. Plants in group 3 were common in all

burned plots but absent in the no-bum control plots, indicatinga dependence on frequent disturbance. Four compositespecies, two grasses (Panicum species and Androoogonvirainicus), and three woody plants (Hvoericum species,J&&s species, and Rhus coooaliia) comprised this group.Most species in group 3 disperse their seed broadly andcompete vigorously for resources and this enables them tobecome established quickly after fue.

Groups 4 and 5 (table 1) contain all woody plants with theexception of one grass (Uniola laxa) and one perennial(Mitchella renens). Most of the species in this groupreproduce vegetatively - but with varying degrees of vigor, asis indicated by the absence of some species from either theannually or periodically burned plots. Group 4 species arerelatively abundant in all but the annual summer plots,maintaining their abundance primarily through vegetativereproduction. About half of these species occurred rarely orinfrequently in the annual summer plots; however, theiroccurence in the annual summer plots is probably due togermination from seed that was transported to the plot by


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Table l--Species synthesis table showing relative abundance” of each speciesacross treatments (three plots per treatment)


Speciesb GroupUnburnedcontrol


Annua 1uinter

Annua 1Sumner


Paspalun species 1 9 RPolvgala lutea 9 R 5Hvpoxis micrantha R 1 9 7Rhexia species 9 RCoreopsis major 2 +;; +Cassia nictitans 5 5 9Stvlosanthes biftora 4 1 8 4 9-Galactia nurre~-.,. ..,l 9 1Desmodim species 2 + 9 + R-Tephl-.,=n=ra hispidula R R R 9 1Cent rosema I viroinianun R R 9 9Lesoedeza SFn.r:rr id + + oLobe1 ia nut’Aster SCM?&


..rellii 3 + 9 Ii + 6 4-3es 1 1 9 2 1 + +~,

Solidaso species + R 9 + 4

Eupatoriun species + + R 8 9 7 : :Elaphantopus species; ; ix3

1 1 :Pani cun species + 6 2 3Andropogon vi rginicus + + 6 9 5 9 3Hypericun speciesRubus species 1 4’

8 + 2 15 5 +k + R

Rhus coma1 ina + R 2 R 1 1 R RPinus taede 4 + 1 ; + + R + + 7 9 6Gavlussacia species + + + + 3 1 +14 R +Vaccinium species 1 + 1 1 6 +39 + +Uniola lexa + + + 3 + + 9 3 5 +Myrica cerifera 1 + + 9 2 1 +Liauidambar stvraci f lua

; t r5 1 +

1 ‘:9

Smilax species 2 + R 1 +Vitisspec i es + 1 + ll+ + + RPuercus species + + + 6 4 3 + 9 +Gelsemiun swervirens + * + 7 9 1 + +Cornus florida 5 3 2 7 8 9 RMitchella repensPersea borboniaLvonia lucida

2 + 3 9 29 + + R

+ 9

* Relative abundance indicated as deciles :1~+11=1-10 percent of the maximumabundance value for a given species,~*li~=ll-20 percent; etc. “R” indicatesthat a species uas rare in the vegetation plot (i.e., uas present only).

’ Nomenclature follows Radford and others (1968).

wind or animals. Species in group 5 were relatively intolerantof frequent burning. Comus florida (dogwood) and Mitchellaw (partridge berry) were absent from annual bum plots,while Persea borbonia (redbay) and Lvonia lucida (fetterbush)- -were absent from both periodic and annual plots. Fetterbushhas been previously mentioned as one of several shrubs on theSFP that sprout prolifically after fm (Langdon 1981). Datafrom other studies (Cypert 1973; Abrahamson 1984) alsosuggest that this species is tolerant of fire. The absence of thisspecies in year 43 may indicate that the species is intolerantof long-term frequent burning, at least on sites similar tothose in the SFP study area.

Species AbundanceUnderstory species abundance (number of plants 0.1 ha-‘) forwoody plants is shown in figure 3. Abundance of hardwoods,shrubs, and vines was dramatically reduced by annual summerburning. In the periodic bum plots and the annual winter bumplots, understory hardwood abundance was slightly greaterthan in unburned controls. Only the annual summer bum plotshad lower shrub abundance than the control plots. The largevalues for shrubs are attributable primarily to the rhizomatous

shrubs, Gavlusaccia spp. (Huckleberry) and Vaccinium spp.@&berry), which sprout prolifically after tire. The greaterabundance of all three woody plant groups in periodic winterbum plots was due to the fact that these plots had beenburned the winter prior to sampling, which illustrates theimmediate response to fire by this predominantly woody


Abundance of grasses, legumes, and other forbs is shown infigure 4. Herbaceous plant abundance increased withincreasing fue frequency, and abundance of all three groupswas greatest in the annual winter bum plots. The annualwinter treatment yielded a substantially higher number oflegume stems than all the other treatments. Legumeabundance in the annual winter bum plots was higher thanvalues reported from other studies in the South (Buckner andLanders 1979; Cushwa and Jones 1969; Cushwa and others1970, 1971; Hendricks 1989; Speake and others 1975).Legume abundance in the periodic and the annual summerbum plots was in the range found in the studies cited above,most of which were conducted after single or periodic bums.

5 5

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r 80000- ggEpl HNZDWODDS-

3 6aooo- ~SHRuas -

a Y m - VMS /LL - 15000O9&--Cn~loooO






Figure 3--Mean number of stems 0.1 ha-’ for understorywoody plant groups across all treatments. Note axis scalechange.

Species Richness and DiversityUnderstory species richness was not significantly affected bytreatment. When species richness was separated into woodyand herbaceous categories, treatment effects were significant(fig. 5). Woody species richness was signiticantly higher forthe no-bum and periodic bum treatments than for either of theannual bum treatments. In contrast, herbaceous speciesrichness increased with increasing burning frequency and wassignificantly higher for the annual winter bum treatment thanfor the periodic winter and the no-bum treatments.

Shannon diversity, calculated using all understory species,was significantly affected by treatment (table 2). Understoryspecies diversity was significantly higher for the annual winter




2L soooo;a 40000

#=I0 7 30000

= -z 20000



Figure 4--Mean number of stems per 0.1 ha-’ for understoryherbaceous plant groups across all treatments. Note axis scalechange.

bum treatment than for the annual summer and periodicwinter bum treatment but not higher than for the periodicsummer and no-bum treatments. It is significant thatdifferences in richness and diversity among treatments werenot more distinct. As burning frequency increased,herbaceous species importance increased and there was anassociated decline of woody species. This species replacementresulted in relatively small differences in diversity andrichness between most treatments. Annual winter burningresulted in higher richness and diversity values becausewoody biomass was reduced to a level sufficient to allowestablishment of herbaceous plants, many of which respondedpositively to the conditions created by fire.





(Error Bars represent 2 standard errors)

Figure 5--Understory species richness. Error bars represent two standard errors.


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Table Z--Shannon diversity indices forunderstory plant commmities from eachtreatment

DiversityTreatment Index”

Annual uinter burn 2.40 a

Periodic smaer burn 2.28 ab

NO burn control 2.07 abc

Annual smmer burn 1 . 8 8 bc

Periodic winter burn 1.70 c

’ Means uith di f ferent let ters aresigni f icant ly di f ferent at the 0 .05 level .

CONCLUSIONSWhile all plants in this southern pine ecosystem are welladapted to fire, it is the fire regime--incorporating intensity,frequency, and season--rather than fire itself, to which plantspecies are adapted (GilJ 1975). Observed differences inspecies composition of understory plant communities along afire disturbance gradient were explained by reference todifferences in fire tolerance and competitive vigor.Differences in frequency and season of fire produced fourdistinct plant communities which, when viewed ascommunities distributed over the landscape, resulted inrelatively high beta diversity.

Land managers are faced with increasingly complex problemsas the concept of multiple resource management expands toinclude compositional, structural, and functional biodiversity.Our increased understanding of the “natural” or historical roleof fire in shaping forested ecosystems should enable us tobetter incorporate the use of fue in the management of wholelandscapes to accomplish multiple resource objectives.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSWe thank John Haney and Darla Miller of the USDA ForestService for assistance in field sampling and Dr. Steven R.Hill, curator of the Clemson University herbarium forassistance with species identification. We also appreciateassistance from Dr. Wiiam R. Harms and other personnel atthe Santee Experimental Forest.

LITERATURE CITEDAbrahamson, Warren G. 1984. Post fire recovery of Florida

Lake Wales Ridge vegetation. American Journal ofBotany 71(1):9-21.

Buckner, lames L.; Landers, J. Larry. 1979. Fire and diskingeffects on herbaceous food plants and seed supplies.Journal of Wildlife Management 43(3):807-811.

Conde, Louis F.; Swindel, Benee F.; Smith, Joel E. 1983.Plant species cover, frequency and biomass: earlyresponses to clearcutting, burning, windrowing, discingand bedding in Pinus elliottii flatwoods. Forest Ecologyand Management 6:3 19-33 1.

Cushwa, Charles T.; Brender, Ernst V.; Cooper, Robert W.1966. The response of herbacwus vegetation to prescribedburning. Res. Note SE-53. Asheville, NC: U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, SoutheasternForest Experiment Station. 2 pp.

Cushwa, Charles T.; Czuhai, Eugene; Cooper, Robert W.;Julian, William H. 1969. Burning clearcut openings inloblolly pine to improve wildlife habitat. Res. Pap. 61,Georgia Forestry Research Council. 5 pp.

Cushwa, Charles T.; Jones, MB.; 1969. Wildlife food plantson chopped areas in the Piedmont of South Carolina. Res.Note SE-119. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service, Southeastern ForestExperiment Station. 4 pp.

Cushwa, Charles T.; Hopkins, Melvin; M’Ginnes, Burd S.1970. Response of legumes to prescibed bums in loblollypine stands of the South Carolina Piedmont. Res. NoteSE-140. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station.6 PP.

Cushwa, Charles T.; Martin, Robert E.; Hopkins, Melvin.1971. Management of bobwhite quail habitat in pineforests of the Atlantic Piedmont. Res. Pap. 65. GeorgiaForestry Research Council. 5 pp.

Cypert, Eugene. 1973. Plant succession on burned areas ofthe Okefenokee Swamp following the fires of 1954 and1955. In: Proceedings, Tall Timbers tire ecologyconference 12; 1972 June 8-P; Lubbock, TX. Tallahassee,FL :TaU Timbers Research Station: 199-217.


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DeSelm, H.R.; Clebsh, E.E.C.; Nichols, G.M.; Thor, E.1974. Response of herbs, shrubs and tree sprouts inprescibed burned hardwoods in Tennessee. In:Proceedings, Tall Timbers fire ecology conference 13;Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 331-344.

FOX, Marilyn D.; Fox, Barry J. 1986. The effect of firefrequency on the structure and floristic composition of awoodland understorey. Australian Journal of Ecology11:77-85.

Gauch, Hugh G., Jr.; 1982. Multivariate analysis incommunity ecology. Beck, E.; Birks, H.J.B.; Connor,E.F., eds. New York: Cambridge University Press.298 pp .

Gill, A.M. 1975. Fire and the Australian flora: a review.Australian Forestry 38:4-25.

Gil&am, Frank S.; Christensen, Norman L. 1986. Herb layerresponse to burning in pine-flatwoods of the lower CoastalPlain of South Carolina. Bulletin of the Torrey BotanicalClub 113(1):42-45.

Grano, Charles X. 1970. Eradicating understory hardwoodsby repeated prescribed burning. Res. Pap. SO-56. NewOrleans, LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, ForestService, Southern Forest Experiment Station. 11 pp.

Grelen, Harold E. 1975. Vegetative response to 12 years ofseasonal burning on a Louisiana longleaf pine site. Res.Note SO-192. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest ExperimentStation. 4 pp.

Hendricks, J.J. 1989. Nitrogen fvtation and litter quality ofunderstory legumes in a burned pine forest of the GeorgiaPiedmont. Athens: University of Georgia. 90 pp. Thesis.

Hill, M.O. 1979. DECORANA-A FORTRAN program fordetrended correspondence analysis and reciprocalaveraging. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University. 52 pp.

Hill, M.O.; Gauch, H.G., Jr. 1980. Detrendedcorrespondence analysis: an improved ordinationtechnique. Vegetatio 42:47-58.

Hodgkins, Earl J. 1958. Effects of fue on undergrowthvegetation in upland southern pine forests. Ecology39(1):36-46.

Langdon, 0. Gordon. 1971. Effects of prescribed burning ontimber species in the southeastern Coastal Plain. In:Proceedings, Prescribed burning symposium; 1971 April14-16; Charleston, SC. Asheville, NC: U.S. Departmentof Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern ForestExperiment Station: 34-44.

Langdon, 0. Gordon. 1981. Some effects of prescribed fueon understory vegetation in loblolly pine stands. In:Wood, Gene W., ed. Prescribed fire and wildlife insouthern forests: Proceedings of a symposium; 1981 April6-8; Myrtle Beach, SC. Georgetown, SC: ClemsonUniversity, Belle W. Baruch Institute: 143-153.

Lemon, Paul C. 1949. Successional responses of herbs inlongleaf-slash pine forest after fire. Ecology 30:135-145.

Lemon, Paul C. 1967. Effects of fire on herbs of thesoutheastern United States and central Africa. In:Proceedings, Tall Timbers fue ecology conference 6;Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 113-127.

Lewis, Clifford E.; Harshbarger, Thomas J. 1976. Shrub andherbaceous vegetation after 20 years of prescribed burningin the South Carolina Coastal Plain. Journal of RangeManagement 29(1):13-18.

Lotti, Thomas. 1955. Summer fues kill understoryhardwoods. Res. Paper SE-71. Asheville, NC: U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, SoutheasternForest Experiment Station. 2 pp.

. Lotti, Thomas. 1956. Eliminating understory hardwoods withsummer prescribed fires in Coastal Plain loblolly pinestands. Journal of Forestry 54:191-192.

Lotti, Thomas.; Klawitter, Ralph A.; LeGrande, W.P. 1960.Prescribed burning for understory control in loblolly pinestands of the Coastal Plain. Res. Paper SE-l 16. Asheville,NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. 19 pp.

Martin, Robert E.; Cushwa, Charles T. 1966. Effects of heatand moisture on leguminous seed. In: Proceedings, TallTimbers fue ecology conference 5; Tallahassee, FL: TallTimbers Research Station: 159-175.

Martin, Robert E.; Miller, Robert L.; Cushwa, Charles T.1975. Germination response of legume seeds subjected tomoist and dry heat. Ecology 56:1441-1445.

McKee, William H., Jr. 1982. Changes in soil fertilityfollowing prescribed burning on Coastal Plain pine sites.Res. Paper SE-234. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service, Southeastern ForestExperiment Station. 23 pp.


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Mueller-Dombois, Dieter; Ellenberg, Heinz. 1974. Aims andMethods of Vegetation Ecology. New York: John Wileyand Sons. 547 pp.

Myers, Richard K.; Zahner, Robert; Jones, Steven M. 1986.Forest habitat regions of South Carolina. Res. Ser. 42.Clemson, SC: Clemson University Department ofForestry. 31 pp. Map supplement, scale 1:1,000,000.

Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968.Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. ChapelHill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. 1183PP.

Statistical Analysis System (SAS) 1987. SASISTAT guide forpersonal computers. SAS Institute Inc., Cat-y, NC.1028 pp .

Speake, D.W.; Hill, E.P.; Carter, V.E. 1975. Aspects ofland management with regard to production of wood andwildlife in the southeastern United States. In: Forest soilsand forest land management, Proceedings of the fourthNorth American forest soils conference; 1973 August;Quebec, Canada: Lava1 University: 333-349.

Waldrop, Thomas A.; Van Lear, David H.; Lloyd, F,Thomas; Harms, William R. 198’7. Long-term studies ofprescribed burning in loblolly pine forests of theSoutheastern Coastal Plain. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-45.Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, ForestService, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. 23 pp.

Waldrop, Thomas A.; Lloyd, F. Thomas. 1991. Forty yearsof prescribed burning on the Santee fire plots: effects onoverstory and midstory vegetation. mese Proceedings].

Wells, Carol G. 1971. Effects of prescribed burning on soilchemical properties and nutrient availability. pp. 86-97.In: Proceedings, Prescribed Burning Symposium; 1971April 14-16; Charleston, SC. Asheville, NC: U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, SoutheasternForest Experiment Station. 160 pp.


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Wayne K. Clatterbuck’

Abstract-Stand reconstruction techniques and historical documentation were used to analyze presentspecies composition, stand sUucture, and successional trends on forest lands on the Western Highland Rimof Tennessee. These lands were affected by fire and tuning practices during Ihe late 1800’s, when localwood was burned to make charcoal fuel for use at a nearby iron forge. The present two-aged standstructure indicates that there was a discriminatory cutting pattern in which white oak (9uercus alba L.) andhickories lCarya spp.) were selectively harvested for charcoal. Trees of other species, whatever their sizeand location, were often left to form the residual stand. Iron forgers apparently favored the hotter burningcharcoal of white oak and hickories for producing wrought iron. These results anyin contrast to those fromother areas, where all tree species were cuf and burned to provide charcoal fuel wood for the production ofcrude pig iron in imn firI’fUCeS.

INTRODUCTIONThe iron industry flourished on the Western Highland Rim inmiddle Tennessee during the 19th century. Historicaldocumentation of this industry has focused on the iron-makingprocess, community and social development, and biographiesof leading men associated with the indhstry. Littleinformation is available about the production of charcoal,which was the fuel used to smelt the iron ore and forgewrought iron. Vast timber reserves were necessary toproduce sufficient quantities of charcoal as one ton ofcharcoal was required for each ton of iron produced (Baker1985). Luther (1977) states that

“an early chronicler of the industry estimatedthat to keep a furnace with a 12-ton-per-dayiron production going for a year required thecutting of 500 acres of forest, and that to keepone going permanently . . . would require about16,000 acres (25 square miles) per furnace,allowing 30 years for timber to grow backbefore the next cutting. In the year 1873 therewere 11 furnaces in blast on the Rim,producing iron at the rate of about 50,000 tonsper year. In order for all of these furnaces tooperate on a ‘permanent’ basis, then, somethingon the order of 375 square miles of timberwould have been necessary to support them. ”

Thus, large units of forest land were affected by the charcoalactivity. This paper reports on the present speciescomposition, stand structure, and successional trends on forestlands that were affected by (1) cutting during the 1800’s forthe production of charcoal, (2) fire and grazing during andafter the charcoal activities until 1938, and (3) stable Stateownership, management, and protection from 1938 to present.

‘Staff Forester, Forest Resource Planning, Tennessee Division ofForestry, Nashville, TN.


STUDY AREAThe study was conducted on the 19,887-acre CheathamWildlife Management Area (CWMA), which is located 25miles west of Nashville, TN (36” 12’N, 87” SW), on theWestern Highland Rim Physiographic Region (Fenneman1938).

Braun (1950) describes the Western Highland Rim as part ofthe Western Mesophytic Forest, a transition area between theMixed Mesophytic Forest Region of the mountains to the eastand the Oak-Hickory Forest Region to the west. CWMA islocated on the strongly dissected, mature plateau of theWestern Highland Rim and consists of narrow to broadridges, steep dissected side slopes, and V-shaped uplandstream valleys (Smalley 1980). Elevations range from 480 to820 feet. The climate is classified as humid mesothermal(Thomthwaite 1948). Mean annual precipitation is 50 inchesand is fairly well distributed throughout the year with slightdeficits in late summer and early falI and surpluses during thewinter months. Average daily temperature is 15” C withmean temperatures of 2” C in January and 26” C in July(SmalIey 1980).

The CWMA was logged and burned in the 19th centuryduring the production of charcoal for a nearby iron forge.Trees were harvested on the ridges and ridge margins wheretimber was abundant and where the charcoal could easiIy betransported by wagon downhill to the forge. Most of the landin the broader valleys had been cleared previously foragriculture. Many of the “charcoal hearths” or “fire circles”where the charcoal was produced are still evident on the studyarea. For more details on charcoal making and ironproduction processes, see Smith and others (1988) and Ash(1986).

During and after the decline of the iron industry in the1880’s, these cutover areas were periodically, if not annually,burned to promote production of forage for livestock and toretard the advance of woody undergrowth. Fires were also

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used locally to control snakes and ticks and to expose mastfor grazing livestock. Open-range laws were also in effect atthat time. Scattered logging for firewood, local buildingmaterials, railroad ties, and to clear forest land for agriculturecontinued, primarily near homesites. The loss of Americanchestnut (Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh.) to chestnut blight(Endothia parasitica (Mm-r.) P.J. & H.W. And.) also shapedthe composition and structure of the present forest.

In 1938, the State of Tennessee acquired the land for awildlife management area. The area supports a heavy deer(Odocoileus virginianus L.) population which is intensivelymanaged through controlled hunts. CWMA has beenprotected from fire and livestock grazing since 1940. Apartfrom hunting and occasional scattered timber harvesting(mainly in the last 10 years), there has been little disturbanceby man. Currently, dieback and mortality associated with“oak decline” are present in varying degrees.

Vegetation on two adjacent narrow ridges (A and B) wasstudied. Ridge A and Ridge B contained 6 and 5 charcoalhearths, respectively. The hearths were located about 200yards apart along the ridges. The ridges were two miles fromthe Narrows of the Harpeth River, a historical landmark andthe site of the iron forge.

Soils on these ridges and ridge margins are either of theBodine or Mountview series (North 1981). Both soils areTypic Paleudults and are deep, well-drained, and finetextured. Mountview soils developed in 2 to 3 feet of loessover limestone residuum, while Bodine soils developed in

limestone residuum without the loess. Chert fragments arefrequent on the surface and throughout the soil mass. Siteindex (base age 50) for upland oaks is 65 to 70 feet (Schnur1937). The primary tree species on these ridges are whiteoak, black oak (9. velutina Lam.), hickories, floweringdogwood (Comus florida L.), sourwood (Oxvdendrumarboreum L. DC.), and sassafras (Sassafras albidum (Nutt.)Nees.). Other associated species are northern red oak (Q.a L.), yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.), whiteash (Fraxinus americana L.), scarlet oak (Q. coccineaMuenchh.), and blackgum (Nvssa svlvatica Marsh.).

PROCEDURESIn 1986, a total of 12 one-fifth-acre circular plots were usedto sample existing vegetation. Six plots were established oneach ridge. Three plots on each ridge had their outerboundary adjacent to a charcoal hearth, while the other threewere located in relatively undisturbed areas not affected bycharcoal cutting. On each plot, the following data wererecorded for each tree with diameters at breast height (4.5feet) of 5.5 inches and greater: species, azimuth and distance,from plot center, I-inch diameter class, and crown class(dominant, codominant, intermediate, or suppressed). Trees

with diameters from 1.6 to 5.4 inches were tallied by l-inchdiameter class and species. Total heights were measured, andincrement cores at DBH were taken from at least threeoverstory trees on each plot for site productivity assessments,diameter growth profiles, and to determine total age. Pointbasal area was estimated from plot center with a lo-factorprism. Data from each of the two ridges were pooled bydisturbance class (cut for charcoal or not) because the ridgeswere similar in disturbance history and site quality.

Stem analysis to reconstruct height and diameter growthpatterns, to reference fire scars, and to determine agestructure was conducted on 12 trees from two plots, one plotfrom each ridge. Each tree was sectioned at 0.5 feet abovethe ground and at 4-foot intervals along the bole to the tallestcentrally located growing tip. The number of annual rings ineach section was subtracted from the tree’s total age todetermine how old the tree was when its terminal leader wasat or near the height of each section. Heights were plottedover corresponding ages to illustrate the height growth patternof each tree. Diameter growth at 4.5 feet was determined bymeasuring the annual increment along four Perpendicularradii. Height and diameter data were analyzed using acceptedstand reconstruction and graphical procedures (Oliver 1982,Clatterbuck and Hodges 1988). Only height and diameterrelationships of individual trees are presented in this paperbecause the small sample size prevents making statisticallytestable generalizations.

Historical documentation was used as much as possible toreference forest development. Local newspapers, magazines,and books were searched for relevant information about earlyiron and charcoal production as were county survey records.The earliest aerial photographs of the study area, which weretaken in 1938, were obtained. Local residents wereinterviewed concerning their recollections of land use events.


Plot DataData from the study plots indicated that areas cut for charcoaland the uncut areas had different age structures (table 1). Thedominant and codominant trees in the uncut areas wereeven-aged and averaged 125 years old. White oak, blackoak, hickories, and occasional yellow-poplar and blackgumcomposed the overstory, while dogwood and sounvood madeup the midstory. These areas were in the understoryreinitiation stage (Oliver 1981): the dominant overstory treeswere beginning to decline, allowing a more favorableunderstory environment for herbaceous and woody vegetation,especially advanced reproduction of tree species.


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Table I.- Stand parameters, based on trees greater than 5.5 inches indiameter, from six sample plots in areas cut for charcoal and from sixsample plots in uncut areas.

DBH Age Density(inches) (years) (stems/acre)

mean range mean range mean range

BLack oakWhite oakHickoriesOther species"

Black oakWhite oakHickoriesOther species"


2 2 12-29 130 106-139 2 4 14-3212 6-16 6 0 48-75 42 30-609 6-14 58 52-68 1 0 4-19

10 6-21 75 40-135 11 6-24


2 0 a-27 130 110-136 ia a-32

1; 6-31 6-22 127 91 115-132 63-125 2 6 a 17-50 3-1610 6-24 115 55-130 11 6-17

"Includes yellow-poplar, blackgum, scarlet oak, northern red oak, whiteash, flowering doguood, and sourwood.

In contrast, the areas cut for charcoal were two-aged, with60- and 130-year age classes (table 1). More surprising wasthe species segregation in these stands. One mighthypothesize that any tree species that was easy to cut andtransport would have been used to make charcoal. However,the charcoal producers were discriminating enough to cut onlywhite oak and hickories, presumably because they judged thatthese species made the best and hottest burning charcoal forforging iron. Black oak and other species were not cut.Black oaks adjacent to the charcoal hearths have diameters of20 to 28 inches and many possess fire scars caused by thecharcoal activities and subsequent burning for grazing. Manysuppressed black oaks were released by the charcoal cuttingcontributing to their poor, open-grown form. White oak andhickories near the charcoal hearths are 60 to 70 years old.They originated from sprouts or seeds after cutting andburning ceased, and are in the large pole to small sawtimbersize classes. Although two-aged, the cut areas were also inthe understory reinitiation stage.

The charcoal hearths, with their circular shape, black soil,and absence of overstory vegetation, were conspicuous on thelandscape. The soils in these hearths had lost their structureand were nearly sterile as a result of the intense heatassociated with charcoal production. The only tree species tocolonize these areas were sassafras and dogwood. These treesaveraged 32 feet in height, 3 inches in diameter, and 55 yearsof age.

Stem AnalysisCumulative height and diameter growth patterns werereconstructed using stem analysis information. Data fromtrees on the uncut areas are not presented here because theseareas exhibited structure and growth patterns typically

associated with even-aged stands (Smith 1962). Figure 1shows the height and diameter growth for the followingrepresentative trees on a plot in an area where trees were cutfor charcoal: (1) a 132-year-old black oak located 20 feetfrom the edge of the charcoal hearth, (2) a 132-year-old whiteoak located 75 feet from the hearth, (3) a 55year-oldsassafras present in the hearth, and (4) a .54-year-old whiteoak located 30 feet from the hearth. The 132-year-old oaksare residuals left from the charcoal cutting. The older whiteoak probably was not cut for charcoal because of its distancefrom the hearth. The younger white oak and sassafrasregenerated once the burning and grazing ceased in the1930’s.

Stem analysis supplemented and corroborated the plot data forthe area that was cut for charcoal. In 1885, the present132-year-old oaks were 31 years old, 3 to 4 inches indiameter, and 32 to 40 feet tall (fig. la). By most accounts,charcoal production had stopped by that time (Smith andothers 1988). These stems grew slowly and were probablysuppressed resulting in spindly form and flat-topped crowns.These trees were probably released when the overstory wascut for charcoal. However, little increase in height occurredbetween 1885 and 1935 for two possible reasons: (1) theannual burning of the area to enhance grazing and (2) thetime necessary for suppressed trees to respond to release.The combination of these two factors is hypothesized to havehindered trees from increasing their crown volumes andaltering their crown shapes enough to allow substantialincrease in height over this 50-year period.

However, with a slow buildup in crown volume, substantialincreases in total height began to occur in the 1930’s (fig. la)when these stands were protected from fire and open-rangegrazing was prohibited. Total height increased 35 percent foreach of the older oaks for the 50 years from 1935 to 1985.For the previous SO-year period (1885 to 1935) when fue andgrazing was common, total height only increased 18 to 20percent for both trees.


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8 0


/ -

7 0


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z 40

P 30


1 0

Cl BLO-132 l a0+ WHO-132

00 WHO-54

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0 0

n 0 + +0 a -

0 -+30 + 0

0 + 00 + 0

0 0+0 0Of 0 x Las

0 0 xo + 0 x

0 0 xO f 0 ;?I

0 0 xq + 0 ⌧


1850 1885 1920 1955 1990Y E A R S

2 120 - 0 B L O - 1 3 2 l b19 _ + W H O - 1 3 2

18 - o WHO-5417 _ X SAS-55

016 -15 - 014 -

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007 -

6 - 9 5! +5- rfi 04 - cf3 - + x X2 - 0 0 x

l- i!i 0 xx

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0 ’1850 1885 1920 1955 1990


Figure 1 .-Cumulative height (la) and diameter (lb) growth patterns of a 332-year-old white oak (WHO-132), a 132-year-oldblack oak, a 54-yc+xr-old white oak (X%0-54), and a %-year-old sassafras (SAS-55) from an area thatwas cut for charcoal.


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Height growth of the 54-year-old white oak was almost linear,increasing in height at an average of 1.3 feet per year. Thisoak regenerated in a cutover open area that had been burnedand grazed for many years. Older trees were not closeenough to affect its growth, form, and development. Thesassafras was 33 feet tall at age 55; its slow growth isindicative of low soil productivity in the charcoal hearth.

The diameter growth patterns of these stem-analyzed trees aresimilar to the height growth patterns (fig. lb). Both the olderwhite oak and black oak had diameters of 4 inches in the1880’s when they were released from overstory vegetation, 8and 10 inches, respectively in 1940 following the grazing andburning, and presently are 16 and 21 inches, respectively.The 54-year-old white oak with its uninhibited growth had asteady diameter growth rate of 2.1 inches per decade. Thesassafras in the charcoal hearth was only 3.5 inches indiameter at 55 years of age.

Fire scars were numerous in the basal cross-sections of theolder oaks. For both trees, the most severe scarring occurredin 1872, 1894, and 1922. These major fire occurrencesprobably were localized because they were not referenced inthe local literature. However, the abundance of fue scars onthese older oaks suggests that burning the forest was commonpractice in this area prior to 1940.

Historical DocumentationThe 1938 aerial photographs of the study area showed a seriesof patchliie I- to 3-acre openings along the ridges. Althoughthe charcoal hearths could not be distinguished on the blackand white photographs, the centers of the openings weredevoid of trees. Isolated individual trees were scattered inthese openings; the majority of these were black oaks that.were not cut for charcoal and that survived the numerousground fires.

Long-time local residents verified that fire had been used on aannual basis to “green-up” the hexbaceous vegetation forgrazing and to control encroachment of woody vegetation intoopen areas. Both cattle and hogs roamed freely and grazed inthe forest until fence laws were passed and enforced. It hasbeen verified that cattle were transported by rail from Texasto the study area during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930’s.

American chestnut was a component of these forests and wasvalued not only for local uses such as ftrewood, buildingmaterials, and mast, but also as a cash product. Amanufacturing plant near Nashville, TN purchased chestnutwood in quantity and extracted tannin from it. The tanninwas then used to fix coloring in dyes, wine, and beer and toproduce an astringent drug. Chestnut logs, whether green,affected with blight, or dead and lying on the forest floor,were used by this industry. The decayed remains ofAmerican chestnut logs that are evident in other areas ofTennessee are not present on or in the immediate vicinity of

CWMA. The frequent use of fire, chestnut blight, and thisspecialized industrial use of chestnut logs all influenced standdevelopment in the study area before 1940. Americanchestnut may have also been used to produce charcoal, butthat could not be determined from this study.

ImplicationsForest development following charcoal cutting in the studyarea was unlike forest development in other places wherecharcoal has been produced and used to fuel iron furnaces.The iron forgers who operated at the Narrows of the HarpethRiver used only those species that they judged would producethe best and hottest burning charcoal, primarily white oak andhickories. Other species were intentionally left, and thiscutting pattern eventually created a two-aged forest. Thisunique two-aged species segregation does not occur in areaswhere all trees, regardless of species, were cut and burned toproduce charcoal for iron furnaces. Where charcoal has beenproduced for use in iron furnaces, larger areas of land,approaching 100 acres, have been cut. The same charcoalhearths were generally used several times, and on many areasthe woody even-aged regrowth was cut two or three times(Ash 1986; Smith et al. 1988; Martin 1989). On the studyarea, the forest was cut once, the charcoal hearths were usedonce, and a mosaic of l- to 3-acre cuts resulted.

Oak decline and associated mortality have been prevalent atCWMA for the last decade. Mostly black oaks and scarletoaks have died, but so have other oak species and hickories.Generally, mortality occurs on the poorer sites - the drierupper side slopes, ridge margins, and ridge crests. Severalstress-related factors including senescence, insect defoliation,disease pathogens, climatic fluctuations (particularly drought),and above average stand densities have been proposed ascauses for oak decline and mortality. Although none of thesehypotheses has been adequately proven, it is probable that acomplex of factors contribute to the mortality (Starkey andOak 1989). On CWMA, the large, fire scarred, overmatureblack oaks that survived the charcoal cutting and thesubsequent fires and grazing are the trees most susceptible todecline and mortality. The younger, more vigorous oaks, forthe most part, have not been affected. Thus, current oakdecline and mortality may be attributed at least in part to theolder age classes and the species segregation initiated by thecharcoal cutting.

Data from this study reflect the ability of oaks and hickoriesto persist in areas that are grazed and burned repeatedlyfollowing timber harvesting. Although burning and grazingusually precludes the establishment of woody vegetation, therootstocks of oaks and hickories have the ability to resproutrepeatedly from suppressed buds at or below ground level.


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Thus, periodic burning and associated grazing promotesadvanced regeneration and establishment of oaks and hickoriesand gives them an ecological advantage over their associates(Van Lear and Waldrop 1989). Even though research has notdetermined the precise combination of season, frequency, andnumber of bums needed to promote oaks through silviculturalpractices, it is evident that the land use events on CWMAhave favored the development of an oak-hickory forest.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSThis study was sponsored under a cooperative agreementbetween the USDA-Forest Service, Southern ForestExperiment Station and the Tennessee Wildlife ResourcesAgency. Field work was completed while the author wasResearch Forester, Sewanee Silviculture Laboratory, formerlymaintained at Sewanee, TN by the Southern ForestExperiment Station, USDA-Forest Service, in cooperationwith the University of the South.

LITERATURE CITEDAsh, Stephen V. 1986. Tennessee’s iron industry revisited:

the Stewart County story. Land Between the LakesAssociation and Tennessee Valley Authority, LandBetween the Lakes Cultural Resource Program, GoldenPond, KY. 41 p.

Baker, A.J. 1985. Charcoal industry in the U.S.A. In:Symposium on Forest Products ResearchInternational-Achievements and the Future; Vol. 5. 1985April 22-26; Pretoria, Republic of South Africa. SouthAfrican Council for Scientific and Industrial Research,National Timber Research Institute. 15 p.

Braun, E.L. 1950. Deciduous forests of eastern NorthAmerica. The Blakiston Co., Philadelphia. 596 p.

Clatterbuck, W.K.; Hodges, John D. 1988. Development ofchenybark oak and sweetgum in mixed, even-agedbottomland stands in central Mississippi, U.S.A. CanadianJournal of Forest Research 18(1):12-18.

Fenneman, N.M. 1938. Physiography of eastern UnitedStates. McGraw-Hill Co., New York. 714 p.

Luther, Edward T. 1977. Our restless earth. University ofTennessee press, Knoxville. 94 p.

Martin, W.H. 1989. The role and history of fire in the DanielBoone National Forest. U.S. Department of Agriculture,Forest Service, Daniel Boone National Forest,Winchester, KY. 131 p.

North, Olii L. 1981. Soil survey of Davidson County,Tennessee. U.S. Department of Agriculture, SoilConservation Service, Washington, DC. 116 p .

Oliver, Chadwick Dearing. 1981. Forest development inNorth America following major disturbances. ForestEcology and Management 3:153-168.

Oliver, Chadwick Dearing. 1982. Stand development-its usesand methods of study. p. 100-112. In: Means, Joseph E.,ed. Forest succession and stand development research inthe Pacific Northwest; 1981 March 26; Corvallis, OR.Corvalhs: Forest Research Laboratory, Oregon StateUnivers i ty .

Schnur, G.L. 1937. Yield, stand, and volume tables foreven-aged upland oak forests. Agric. Tech. Bull. 560.Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 87 p.

Smalley, Giendon W. 1980. Classification and evaluation offorest sites on the Western Highland Rim and Pennyroyal.Gen. Tech. Rep. SO-30. New Orleans, LA: U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, SouthernForest Experiment Station. 120 p.

Smith, David Martyn. 1962. The practice of silviculture. JohnWiley & Sons, Inc., New York. 578 p.

Smith, Samuel D.; Stripling, Charles P.; Brannon, James M.1988. A cultural resource survey of Tennessee’s WesternHighland Rim iron industry, 179Os-1930s. ResearchSeries No. 8. Nashville, TN: Tennessee Department ofConservation, Division of Archaeology. 209 p.

Starkey, Dale A.; Oak, Steven W. 1989. Silviculturalimplications of factors associated with oak decline insouthern upland hardwoods. p. 579-586. In: MiJler, JamesH., compiler. Proceedings of the Fifth Biennial SouthernSilvicultural Research Conference; 1988 November l-3;Memphis, TN. Gen. Tech Rep. SO-74. New Orleans,LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Southern Forest Experiment Station.

Thomthwaite, C.W. 1948. An approach toward rationalclassification of climate. Geographical Review 38:55-94.

Van Lear, David H.; Waldrop, Thomas A. 1989. History,uses, and effects of fire in the Appalachians. Gen. Tech.Rep. SE-54. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service, Southeastern ForestExperiment Station. 20 p.


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Raymond C. Shearer and Peter F. Stickney’

Abstract-In 1967 and 1968, seven south- and east-facing units, averaging 4-ha each, in a western larchforest of northwest Montana were (1) clearcut and burned by prescribed fire or wildfire, (2) clearcut andunburned, or (3) uncut and burned by wildfire. More than 20 years of forest succession data frompermanent transects show that fire caused a marked change in composition of ail vegetation. Herb cover,mostly tireweed, dominated burned sites through the fifth year. Shrub cover (such as from willow or shinyleaf ceanothus) dominated burned sites from the 6th through the 20th years, but the herb cover changedlittle during this period. Trees rapidly regenerated burned sites, and height of pioneer species, such aswestern larch and lodgepole pine, exceeded that of shrubs about 7 years after treatment. But the percentageof conifer cover increased slowly and usually required al least 20 years to equal shrub cover. Without tire,the herb and shrub component remained relatively stable; trees were limited to the smaller, moreshade-tolerant uncut conifers. Trees established slowly on unburned sites, and most were shade-tolerantsubalpine fir and Engelmann spruce.

INTRODUCTIONDisturbance reinitiates the plant succession cycle. Fire hasbeen the agent of the most extensive disturbances in theNorthern Rocky Mountains. Land managers can predictsuccessional pathways on the basis of early responses toprescribed burning. Postfire vegetation is composed of“survivor” and “colonizer” species (Stickney 1982).Survivors are established plants capable of regrowth after fire,and colonizers are new plants that establish from seed on theburned site. Seeds of residual colonizers are already on thesite and survive fire either in seedbanks in the ground (Baker1989) or in tree crowns. Seeds of offsite colonizers disperseonto burned areas, usually from nearby unburned sites.

Stickney (1986) attributes early stages of forest successionafter fire to differential development of species present in theinitial community. Prebum species composition and severityof burning largely determine what survivor and residualcolonizer species will be present. Establishment of offsitecolonizers depends on the production and dispersal of seed,mostly from nearby sources, and on favorable site conditionsfor germination and establishment. Once the initial vegetationis established, successional development usually is limited tochanges in species abundance.

Establishment of trees may begin immediately afterdisturbance, but trees develop more slowly than do someherbs and shrubs. Conifer regeneration in the NorthernRockies continues, sometimes in large numbers, for at least15 years after burning (Shearer 1989). The faster growingherbs and shrubs dominate the conifers until the trees beginsustained rapid height growth.

‘Principal Silviculturist and Associate Plant Ecologist, respectively,U.S. Depanment of Agriculture, Forest Service, IntermountainResearch Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT.

This paper describes differences in natural revegetation ofsouth- and east-facing burned and unburned clearcuts in awestern larch (Larix occidentalis) forest. Revegetation of awildfire-burned uncut stand is also compared.

STUDY AREAThe experimental work was conducted in the Miller CreekDemonstration Forest (MC) in western Montana, at latitude48” 31’ N., longitude 114” 43’ W. MC is a research anddemonstration area in the Flathead National Forest.

Elevations of the treated units are 1,424 to 1,654 m, andslopes average 24 percent (12 to 37 percent). The localclimate is cool and moist; mean annual temperature is 5 “C,and mean annual precipitation is 635 mm. The growingseason (May to August) has a high proportion of clear, hotdays and only 17 to 30 percent of the yearly precipitation fallsduring this period (Schmidt and others 1976). Soils havedeveloped in glacial till composed of argillites and quartzitesof the Wallace (Belt) Formation and overlain with 13 to140 mm of loess (DeByle 1981).

Forest cover is of the western larch type (Eyre 1980).Percent conifer composition (based on volume of the uncutforest) was: Engelmann spruce (picea ennelmannii) 31,Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuea menziesii var. elauca) 31, westernlarch 26, subalpine fii (Abies lasiocama) 6, and lodgepolepine (Pinus contorta) 6 (Beaufait and others 1977). Thepredominant potential climax vegetation is classified as the& IasiocamalClintonia uniflora (ABLAKLUN) habitattype (Pfister and others 1977). Three phases are represented:Xerouhvllum tenax (XETE) on the drier south- andwest-facing slopes, Menziesia ferruainea (MEFE) on thecooler middle and upper east- and north-facing terrain, andClintonia uniflora (CLUN) on west-, east-, and north-facingslopes on the remaining sites.


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Table 1.--Site and fire effects description of four units on south-facing slopes,Miller Creek Demonstration Forest

Prescr. fire Prescr. fire WildfireUnburned May 18. 1968 Aus. 8. 1967 Aug. 23. 1967

SITEElevation (m) 1456 1498 1479 1424slope (%)

23:2 2

1;:2 4

Azimuth (deg.) 196 189Dry slope (XI 100 8 8 91 9 4Habitat type ABLA/CLUN,XETE ABLA/CLUN,XETE ABLA/CLUN,XETE ABLA/CLUN,XETE

FIRE EFFECTSFine fuel red. C%) N/A 82 74 ca 90Duff red. (X1 N/A 1 6 8 4 100Unburned duff (cm) WA 4 . 3 0 . 5 0Soil exposure (XI N/A 14 8 4 100

METHODSThis paper reports on portions of two studies that describeherb, shrub, and tree development on south- and east-facingexperimental burning units that were (1) clearcut and burnedby prescribed broadcast burning or wildfire, (2) clearcutwithout burning, or (3) uncut but burned by wildfire. Theburning units averaged 4-ha in area.

Three south-facing units were clearcut in 1967; the fourth wasnot cut (table 1). Two of the south-facing clearcuts wereprescribed burned (one in early August 1967, the other inmid-May 1968), and the third was not burned. A wildfireburned the uncut unit in late August 1967. The threeeast-facing units were clearcut in 1967 (table 2). Two ofthese units were prescribed burned in early October 1967 andearly August 1968; the third unit was not burned.

Successional DevelopmentThe postfire development of vegetation was measuredannually (most units) on permanent plots located within the4-ha experimental burning units. The permanent plots within

a burning unit were referenced to two 25-m baselines, usuallyarranged end to end (Stickney 1980). Each baseline served asthe base for live contiguous 5 x 5 m plots. Within each S-mplot, three smaller plots were nested to accommodate thesampling of lower/shorter woody plants and herbaceousvegetation. Shrubs and trees were sampled according toheight as: (1) 2.5 m and taller on 5 x 5 m plots, (2) height1.5 to 2.45 m on 3 x 3 m plots, and (3) height 0.5 to 1.45 mon 1.5 x 1.5 m plots. Herbs (irrespective of height) and lowwoody plants (including shrubs and trees <OS m high) weresampled in two 0.5 x 0.5 m pIots nested in each 5 x 5 m plotalong the baseline. Cover (aerial crown) by plant species wasmeasured to quantify the successional development of shrubsand trees and ocularly estimated for herbaceous and lowwoody plants .

The total number of conifer seedlings and saplings and thenumber of plots with at least one conifer seedling or saplingwere determined at S-year intervals on 31 to 74 temporary0.0004-ha circular plots systematically installed throughouteach unit. Each of these circular plots was enlarged to

Table 2.-- Site and fire effects description of three units on east-facingslopes, Miller Creek Demonstration Forest

Prescr. fire Prescr. fireUnburned Auu. 7 . 1 9 6 8 Oct. 2. 1967

SITEElevation (m) 1585 1654 1448Slope (%) 22Azimuth (deg.) :; 4 63H o i s t s l o p e (X) 9 2 7 8 80Habitat type ABLA/CLUN,MEFE ABLA/CLUN,MEFE ABLA/CLUN,CLUN

FIRE EFFECTSFine fuel red. (X) N/A 9 2 44Duff red. (XI N/AUnburned duff (cm) N/A 2”;:Soil exposure (X) N/A iI8

6 7

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0.0013 ha to determine the number of (1) established (at least30.5 cm tall for larch and lodgepole pine or 15 cm for otherspecies) and (2) plots with one tree present. Also, the heightof the tallest conifer of each species was recorded for eachplot.

The data presented in this paper were not analyzedstatistically.

Severity of Fire TreatmentAssessment of fire severity treatment to vegetation follows theRyan-Noste Fire Severity Index (Ryan and Noste 1985,p. 232) as the standard. Severity, as defined by Ryan andNoste, differs from “tire intensity” because it incorporates thedownward heat pulse to site in addition to the upward heatpulse. Expressed as ground char depth, the downward heatpulse is the critical one so far as understory vegetation isconcerned. The postfve manifestations of ground char classare expressed in the depth reduction of the litter/dufflayer/mantle. On the experimental burning units beingreported here, ground char classes ranged from light for mostof the broadcast burned units to moderate for the wildfve andsummer burned units.

RESULTSFire caused changes in composition of all vegetation. Thedegree of modification varied with severity of the tiretreatment as shown by changes on units receiving differingfire treatments on south- and east-facing slopes.

Reforestation of South-Facing SlopesOverstory trees common in 200- to 250-year-old virgin forestson south-facing slopes at MC include Douglas-fu, westernlarch, Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, and less frequentlylodgepole pine. The more prominent understory plantsinclude the shrubs huckleberry (Vaccinium globulare),mountain maple (Acer glabrum), and spirea (Suiraeabetulifolia); and the herbs amica (Amica latifolia), beargrass(Xeronhvllum tenax), and prince’s pine (ChimanhiliaClearcutting removes the overstory conifers and,umbellata).when followed by slash burning, eliminates any onsite seedsource for trees.

Clearcut and a spring prescribed fwe.Following clearcutting, a prescribed tire on May 18, 1968(when the lower half of the duff was still wet from snowmeltand rain) left a continuous, intact, duff mantle as a seedbedand killed the aerial portions of understory herbs and shrubs.Many topkilled herbs and shrubs quickly regrew from rootcrowns and rootstocks. Forest succession began with theregrowth of an abundant survivor component of amica andbeargrass and the establishment of the offsite colonizersfireweed (Epilobium annustifolium) and bullthistle (Cirsiumvulgare). Herbaceous cover developed rapidly. Fireweedquickly established; beargrass regrew less rapidly but more

persistently than did tireweed, and was a major component ofthe herbaceous cover. The herb stage dominated the first 15years of succession (fig. 1) because shrub development wasdependent on the slow recovery of huckleberry and sparsecolonization by Scouler’s willow (Salix scouleriana).Conifers regenerated slowly because of unfavorable seedbedand harsh site. Regeneration may also have been limited byinfrequent good seed crops and the distance from the seedsource.

Herbaceous cover and shrub cover were similar (45 to 50percent) from the 15th through the 20th years. Tree coverdeveloped slowly; increasing to about 10 percent after 20years (fig. 1). In 1984, 17 growing seasons after treatment,at least one conifer seedling or sapling grew on 79 percent ofthe plots. There were more than 1,900 total and establishedtrees/ha (fig. 2). Most of these were Douglas-frr, larch,Engelmann spruce, and subalpine fir (table 3). Coniferdensity was greatest close to the nearby uncut timber;overstocking occurred in patches. There were few trees on adrier slope in the interior of the clearcut. Many of theconifers growing on that slope were exposed to directsunlight. Most conifers originated from the 1971 cone cropthat was rated good for all species.


PRE o 1 5 10 15 2 0


Survivor :XETE (HI 13 3 12 15 18 2 5

ARLA (HI 14 7 11 1 41 4

VAGL (S) 29 <l 3 8 16 11

Colonizer :EPAN (H) 0 <1 17 22 12 8

SASC 6) 0 0 5 4 5 2

Figure 1. - Early successional development (cover) of majorlife form groups and prominent species from 1968 through1988 on a south-facing clearcut, prescribed burned May 18,1968, Miller Creek Demonstration Forest; ARLA = amica,EPAN = fireweed, SASC = willow, VAGL = huckleberry,XETE = beargrass; H = herb, S = shrub.

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TREES/HA NOT BURNED MAY. 1060 AUG., 1967 AUG.. 1967- I - - - -TREES


-_mw7 1 2 1 7 17 8 1 1 1 6 1 6 71217 17 71217 17


Figure 2. - Average number of all conifer seedlings andsaplings per hectare (open bars) by years since treatment andnumber of established conifers (larch and pine at least30.5 cm tall, others at least 15 cm) at the most recentmeasurement (crosshatched bar) on four south-facing units,Miller Creek Demonstration Forest, 1984.

Because all of the important nonconiferous species present in1988 are traceable to the plant community established in thefirst postfire year, it may be several decades before seedsfrom other shrubs or tree species influence succession on thissite.

Clearcut and a summer prescribed fire.In contrast to the spring burning, a prescribed fire on August8, 1967, when duff moisture was low, consumed most of theduff and as a consequence, killed many plants by burningtheir aerial portions and lethally heating their roots within thesurface 3 cm of soil. A wildfire rebuming the area onAugust 23 consumed the remaining duff, thereby increasing

plant mortality. Consequently, the postfire communityresulting from this double-bum treatment contained fewsurvivor plants and revegetation was largely in the form ofcolonization by pioneer plants. Predominant colonizers wereshinylcaf ceanothus (Ccanothus velutinus) originating fromseed in a ground-stored seedbank emplaced well prior to thefue and fireweed whose seed dispersed onto the bum in thefall following the fire. A few seeds of conifers dispersed longdistances from outside the bum.

Forest succession began with the germination of these seedsand the regrowth of spirea, beargrass, and huckleberry.Early dominance by herbaceous plants, mainly fireweed, wasof short duration. Shrub seedlings of ceanothus, germinatingprofusely from the seedbanks, dominated the site after about7 years of postfire development. Once the herb and shrublayer provided shade on this south-facing site, more coniferseedlings became established, especially from the good conecrop of 1971 4 years after the fire. Cover estimates are notavailable for this unit, but shrubs still dominate after 20 yearsalthough scattered conifers have overtopped the shrubs. In1984, most of the 1,500 total and the 970 established trees/hawere Douglas-fir and larch (fig. 2, table 3). Conifers grewon nearly half of the plots.

In spite of an ash seedbed, tree density on most of theclearcut has remained low because there is no onsite seedsource. A few trees on a ridge above the unit survived thewildfve and provided some seed for regeneration. Hightemperature at the soil-air interface and low moisture in thesurface 10 cm limited earIy conifer seedling survival. Lackof moisture and competition with shrubs limited recentsurvival. The number of established shade-intolerant larch

Table 3.--Percent composition of established conifer regeneration’ on south-and east-facing slopes by treatmen?‘, Mitter Creek Demonstration Forest, 1984

TreatmentTree cotsposition

w pi& yEJ m pIc0


C C , N B 0C C , PB May 1968 4: 0 022 13 30C C , PB Aug. 1967 32: 4s 9 10UC, WF Aug. 1967 1 0 2 1 1 fi

E A S T - F A C I N G C L E A R C U T SC C , N B 67 33 0C C , PB Aug. 1968

:12 57


C C , PB Oct. 1967 28 29 2 1 22 0

‘Based on data from 0.0013-ha circular plots that recorded et1 subsequentnatural regeneration 230.5 cm tall for western larch end lodgepole pine and~15.0 c m tall for all other species. ABLA = subalpine fir, LAOC = uesternlarch, PICO = todgepole pine, PIEN = Engelmann spruce, PSHE = Douglas-fir.

kc = clearcut, UC = Uncut;PB = prescribed burned, UF = wildfire, NB = not burned


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and lodgepole pine decreased by 40 percent from 1979through 1984, while numbers of shade-tolerant Douglas-firincreased 192 percent.

Clearcut without fire.A third clearcut was slashed but received no fire treatment.Logging and slashing removed all overstory trees but did notremove the small-diameter understory trees, most of whichwere subalpine fir. The initial post treatment community wascomposed almost exclusively of species that were present inthe prelogged forest (fireweed was the exception). Alder andmenziesia were important shrubs, both before and afterlogging and site treatment. During the 20 years sincedisturbance, only a few subalpine fir and Engelmann sprucehave regenerated (fig. 2, table 3).

Uncut, summer wildfire.On August 23, 1967, a wildfire burned a virgin stand oflarch, DougIas-fir, and lodgepole pine that was designated forlogging later in the summer. The fire killed the overstorytrees (except two larch), burned the aerial portion of all othervegetation, and ashed the litter/duff layer to the soil surface.High mortality of huckleberry and beargrass, the major shruband herb species, resulted from this fire. Because few plantssurvived the fire, the site was available for colonization bypioneer species. Colonizers in the fist postfire year werefireweed (herb), ceanothus (shrub), and lodgepole pine andlarch (tree). Seed sources for these initial colonizers wereonsite seedbanks for ceanothus (ground-stored) and lodgepole

‘pine and larch (tree crowns) and offsite for fiieweed. Forestsuccession began with the germination and establishment ofthese tree species coupled with regrowth of surviving spirea,beargrass, and huckleberry. The fast initial growth of herbcover was due mostly to the rapid development of fireweed.Herb cover peaked at 4 years and shrub cover dominated afteronly 7 years, mainly because spirea and ceanothus grewrapidly (fig. 3). Although most conifers established in thefirst year at the same time as fueweed and ceanothus, theirheight did not begin to exceed that of the shrubs until theninth year. After 20 years, shrub cover still was twice asgreat as that of conifers (fig. 3). It is expected that increasedshading resulting from height growth and crown developmentof conifers will cause reductions in ceanothus cover. Duringthe winter of 1986-87, low temperature coupled withlower-than-average snow cover killed a large proportion ofceanothus crowns. Some recovery was noted in 1989.

In 1984 (succession year 17), more than 6,400 total and 5,600established trees/ha, mostly lodgepole pine and western larch,covered the area (fig. 3, table 3). Trees occurred in97 percent of the plots-the result of seedfall from fire-killedonsite trees.


150 I-

,’100 - 8’

* ’



: .* .*. . . ...***


.’ /?REES, .*

P R E 0 1 5 10 15 2 0


Survivor:XETE (H) 2 3 2 5 10 10 8

swiE 6) a 2 1 1 16 23 2 6

VAGL (S) 5 4 0 1 4 5 8

Colonizer:EPAN (HI 0 0 16 0 5 3

CEVE @I 0 ~1 <l 55 100 7 5

PICO (T) 0 2 22 58 82

Figure 3. - Early succession development (cover) of majorlife form groups and prominent species from 1967 through1987 of a south-facing uncut forest burned by wildfire onAugust 23, 1967, Miller Creek Demonstration Forest; CEVE= ceanothus, EPAN = fireweed, PICO = lodgepole pine,SPBE = spirea, VAGL = huckleberry, XETE = beargrass;H = herb, S = shrub, T = tree.

Reforestation of East-Facing SlopesTree species found on the south-facing slopes at MC are alsocharacteristic of virgin forests on more mesic east-facingslopes. The understory shrub and herb species found on theeast-facing slopes are typical of moister sites. Prominentshrubs include yew (Taxus brevifolia), menziesia (Menziesiaferruainea), and alder (Alnus sinuata), in addition tohuckleberry; important herbs were amica and oak fern(Gvmnocamium drvouteris). As on south aspects,clearcutting and burning eliminated onsite sources forconiferous seed. Burning decreased or eliminated potentialsources for seed in the slash. Where slash is not burned,advance coniferous regeneration survived on the site.

Clearcut and a fall prescribed fue.After a record-dry summer, a prescribed fire on October 2,1967 (during the first major storm since late June) burned halfof the freshly moistened 5.8 cm duff layer. The fireeliminated western yew, the major understory species, andgreatly reduced the cover percentages of the other principal


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understory species, huckleberry and amica (fig. 4). Thereduced duff layer and poor survival of understory shrubs andherbs combined to provide a conducive site for colonization.Five offsite colonizers attained prominence in earlysuccession: fireweed, Scouler’s willow, western larch,Douglas-fir, and subalpine fir. As on the south-facing slopes,fireweed showed the most rapid development and attained47 percent canopy cover by the second year after fire. Itremained the most abundant cover species for the duration ofthe herb stage. Recovery of huckleberry survivors anddevelopment of initial colonizer Scouler’s willow wereprimarily responsible for succession to the shrub stage in the13th year. Shrubs remained the most abundant life formthrough 1989. Some conifer seeds germinated the first yearafter the fire but most of them originated as secondary offsitecolonizers from the seed crop of 1971, 4 years after burning.Because two edges of the unit bordered uncut forest,thousands of conifer seedlings per hectare germinated in1972. More than 12,600 seedlings/ha, mostly larch and

COVER (96)15t



SurvivorARLA (H)




PRE 0 , 5 10 15 20


12 2 1 2 6 9

26 1 2 9 21 38

7 0 0 0 3 1 2

63 0 0 0 0 0

Colonizer :EPAN (HI o 41 30 17 9 1 2

SASC 6) 0 0 cl 7 14 1 5LAOC (1) 0 (1 <l 6 2 0 44

Figure 4. - Early successional development (cover) of majorlife form groups and prominent species from 1967 through1987 of an east-facing clearcut, prescribed burned October 2,1967, Miller Creek Demonstration Forest; ALSI = alder,ARLA = amica, EPAN = fireweed, LAOC = westernlarch, SASC = willow, TABR = yew, VAGL =huckleberry; H = herb, S = shrub, T = tree.

Douglas-fir, survived in 1974 (fig. 5, table 3). Regenerationmore than doubled over the next 10 years because of largeincreases in Douglas-fir, Engelmann spruce, and subalpinefir. During this period the number of shade-intolerantwestern larch decreased about 22 percent. More than 22,000conifer seedlings and saplings/ha were counted in 1984, andmore than 21,000 of these were considered established. Inthe 20th year of succession, percentages of cover of trees andof shrubs were high and almost equal, while percentages ofherb cover were much less (fig. 4).





71217 17 0 1’ 16 7 1 2 1 7 1 7


Figure 5. - Average number of all conifer seedlings andsaplings per hectare by years (open bars) since treatment andnumber of established conifers (larch and pine at least 30.5cm tall, others at least 15 cm) at the most recent measurement(crosshatched bar) on three east-facing units, Miller CreekDemonstration Forest, 1984.

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Clearcut and a summer prescribed fire.AAer the onsite conifer seed source was removed byclearcutting and slashing, the August 7, 1968, prescribed fireburned the aerial portions of the understory vegetation andremoved the upper 60 percent of the duff layer. The firesubstantially reduced cover of most of the shade-tolerantunderstory species, especially huckleberry, alder, andmenziesia. Herbs responded quickly, covering 68 percent ofthe freshly burned site by the second year of succession.Amica, a rhizomatous herb, attained 19 percent byregrowth; fireweed, which grew from seed from offsitesources, attained 47 percent coverage. The few survivorshrubs regrew slowly in early succession, and cover of herbswas live times as great as cover of shrubs by the sixth year,the last year for which data are available.

Conifers regenerated quickly from seed of offsite treesbordering two sides of the clearcut. Most seedlings resultedfrom the abundant 1971 seedfall. The moderate or good conecrops of 1974, 1976, and 1980 provided seed for additionalseedling establishment. In 1974, 6 years after the fue, therewere 6,300 seedlings/ha (fig. 5). This increased to more than18,100 in 1984 and 21,800 in 1989. About two-thirds of thetree seedlings counted in 1984 were consideredestablished-there were seven times more established seedlingsin 1984 as there were in 1979. Of the established conifers,57 percent were Engelmann spruce, 22 percent suablpine fir,12 percent Douglas-fir, 8 percent larch, and 1 percentlodgepole pine (table 3). Only the Engelmann spruce were astall here as they were on the other clearcuts. The fewestablished lodgepole pine were much shorter than elsewhere,but they were 0.6 m taller than the other species. In contrast,height growth of Engelmann spruce was greater than on otherburned clearcuts at Miller.

Cleat-cut and no fire.An cast-facing unit bordering the clearcut prescribed burnedon August 7, 1968, provided an unburned contrast. Theunmerchantable trees were cut but not removed afterclearcutting, but many small subalpine fir and a few othershade-tolerant conifers were. not cut. With no furtherdisturbance, the understory alder, menziesia, amica, andsmall conifers constituted the initial community with speciescomposition little changed from the prelogging forest (fig. 6).The major exception, fireweed, colonized sites where removalof overstory trees revealed gaps in the shrub layer. Becauseshrubs constituted the most important cover group both beforeand after logging, forest succession began with an initialshrub stage that has continued for 20 years. Possibly somesecondary colonization of aider and menziesia from onsiteseed sources occurred during the middle of the first decade.Alder and menziesia have become codominant for the shrubstage. Twenty years after logging, fueweed represents aminor component overall but maintains higher coverage in theopenings of the shrub stand. Although adjacent uncut standssupplied much seed, competition for light and moisture is

intense and few conifers became established. The current treecomponent is sparse and consists of subalpine fu that wereestablished before the stand was clearcut and were too smallfor slashing in 1967 and about 62 Douglas-fir and Engelmannspruce/ha (table 3, fig. 5). A few western larch andlodgepole pine are present, probably growing on small areasdisturbed during timber harvest.

PRE 0 5 10 15 19


Survivor :ARLA (H) 5 1 9 8

VAGL(S) 2 5 1 8 20

MEFE (S) 2 8 2 3 so

ALSI (S) 2 6 3 4 90

Colonizer :EPAN (Ii) 0 3 4 8

Figure 6. - Early successional development (cover) of majorlife form groups and prominent survivor and colonizer speciesfrom 1968 through 1987 on an east-facing clearcut that wasnot burned, Miller Creek Demonstration Forest; ALSI =alder, ARLA = amica, EPAN = tireweed; MEFE =menziesia, VAGL = huckleberry; H = herb, S = shrub.

DISCUSSIONMaturing forests are inhospitable to the establishment andgrowth of many native species. Fire renews and rejuvenatesaging ecosystems following years of successional changes andthe accumulation of duff and litter. The potential for fire toalter succession depends mainly on the composition of theforest community, the onsite seed source, and the severity ofthe fire. Low-severity fires leave a high survivor componentand do little to change species composition, leaving sites in alater stage of succession. As fire severity increases, theburned area becomes more favorable to colonizers. Severefires kill more of the existing vegetation and have thepotential to greatly change the course of subsequentsuccession, that is, set succession back to an earlier stage.Fire similarly affects succession after clearcutting. Withoutfire or other site modification after timber harvest, coniferregeneration is slow and often excludes shade-intolerantspecies. The MC study showed response of vegetation to a


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wide range of fire characteristics. On south aspects coniferregeneration was successful on an uncut unit burned duringthe August I967 wildfire, less so on prescribed burnedclearcuts, and unsuccessful on an unburned clearcut. On theeast-facing slopes conifer regeneration was successful onprescribed burned clearcuts but was also unsuccessful on anunburned clearcut. Ryan and Noste (1985) show that whenplenty of conifer seed is present, regeneration on clearcutsfollowing fire depends on the severity of burning treatment.

Clearcutting followed by prescribed burning can deplete thesurface of most of the woody residues. Although coniferregeneration following clearcutting was usually mostsuccessful when the duff layer was removed by fire, researchhas shown that most conifers successfully regenerate through1.3 cm of duff in the western larch forest type (DeByle1981). Retention of a shallow duff layer and other organicmatter, especially the woody component, protects the soilfrom intense summer rainfall for the first few years (DeByle1981) and helps maintain the productivity of the site (Harveyand others 1987).

Many trees that burned during the wildfire on the south-facinguncut unit bore mature cones. Some cones burned and theirseeds were lost while other cones were singed and theirundamaged seeds dispersed on the ash covered surface a fewdays after the fire. Seeds with unburned wings could dispersefarther than seeds with partly burned wings. Overhead shadefrom dead and surviving trees promoted seedling survivalthrough decreased surface soil temperatures and reducedevapotranspiration. Prompt conifer seedfall permittedestablishment before shrub and herb competition for moistureand light became extreme. Following less severe wildfire,more overstory trees survive and serve as a continuing onsiteseed source. The availability of onsite seed to affectregeneration depends on the regularity and amount of seedcrops and the duration of a receptive seedbed after burning.

Burned seedbed had greater conifer germination and seedlingestablishment than on unburned sites. Regeneration usuallyincreased where the duff layer was reduced most. Sparseconifer establishment on the two presecribed burned clearcutson south aspects resulted from the harsh site conditions.Without shading, the soil surface dried quickly andtemperatures as high as 79 “C were measured in June and July(Shearer 1976). The combination of lethal temperature andrapid drying of surface soil soon after germination oftencauses high mortality of new seedlings (Shearer 1976). TheMay prescribed fire left a 4-cm-deep residual duff layer thatwas unfavorable for seedling survival. Cracks developed inthe duff as it warmed and dried during the sunny, dry seasonfollowing site treatment. In subsequent years, seedlingssurvived much better in the enlarging cracks than on the

surface of duff. The August prescribed fire nearly eliminatedall of the duff layer on the other clearcut and left it exposedto extremes in light and temperature. Seedfall was deficientbecause few trees grew nearby.

The east-facing clearcuts were less influenced by long periodsof intense radiation. Each of the clearcuts had one or twosides bordering uncut timber that provided abundant seed fornatural regeneration. Both prescribed burned clearcutsregenerated readily and conifers now account for a substantialpercentage of the plant cover. Subsequent regeneration failedon the unburned clearcut where no exposed mineral seedbedwas left after logging.

Lodgepole pine have serotinous cones, but the other coniferspresent depend on the current cone crop to provide seeds afterlate summer or early fall burning. A fair or good cone cropusually provides sufficient seed to regenerate the site thespring after the fire. But for stands that are burned when fewor no onsite cones are available, regeneration is dependent onoffsite seed sources. The number of new seedlings decreasesas distance to the trees increases.

If clearcutting occurs near the time of cone maturity, thecones will open and disperse their seeds. Severe slash firesbum much of the duff layer and destroy all or most of theseed, preparing a substrate free of heavy duff and favorablefor seed germination. If seeds are present in nearby standsand disseminate into the units, as they did on the east-facingclearcuts that were burned by the summer and fall prescribedfires, prompt regeneration occurs. If seed is unavailable, asin the south-facing clearcut prescribed burned in August 1967,regeneration is delayed. Cutting without slash burningmaintains the viable seed, but does not prepare a seedbedconducive to seedling establishment (examples are east- andsouth-facing clearcuts where fire was excluded).

Exposed charred duff apparently decomposed rapidly. Withina few years, the depth of this layer decreased sufficiently sothat significant numbers of conifer seedlings becameestablished. After some early seedling establishment, theabundant seed crop of 1971 dispersed onto the 5-year-oldnearly duff-free ground surface and a substantial pulse of newconifer seedlings established.

If these new forests were to bum with a tree-killing fire, theinitial postfire community would be composed mostly ofsurvivor species. Principal shrubs would be ceanothus,spirea, and huckleberry; principal herbs would be fueweedand beargrass. Tree species probably would be excludedfrom the site for lack of an onsite seed source. Thiscondition would be equivalent to the double bum situation inthe Northern Rocky Mountains that created large shrubfieldsas noted by foresters at the turn of the century (Lieberg1897).


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LITERATURE CITEDBaker, Herbert G. 1989. Some aspects of the natural history

of seed banks. In: Leek, Mary Allessio; Parker, V.Thomas; Simpson, Robert L. eds. Ecology of soil seedbanks. Academic Press, Inc. San Diego, CA: 9-21.

Beaufait, William R.; Hardy, Charles E.; Fischer, William C.1977. Broadcast burning in larch-fu clearcuts: The MillerCreek - Newman Ridge Study. Research Paper INT-175.Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, ForestService, Intermountain Forest and Range ExperimentStation. 53 p.

DeByle, Norbert V. 1981. Clearcutting and fire in thelarch/Douglas-fir forests of western Montana--amultifaceted research summary. General Technical ReportINT-99. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture,Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and RangeExperiment Station. 73 p.

Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the UnitedStates and Canada. Society of American Foresters. 148 p.

Harvey, Alan E.; Jurgensen, M.F.; Larsen, M.J.; Graham.R.T. 1987. Decaying organic materials and soil quality inthe Inland Northwest: a management opportunity. GeneralTechnical Report INT-225. Ogden, UT: U.S. Departmentof Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain ResearchStation. 15 p.

Leiberg, John B. 1897. General report on a botanical surveyof the Coeur d’AIene Mountains in Idaho during thesummer of 1895. Contributions from the U.S. NationalHerbarium. Washington, DC: U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Division of Botany. 5(l)%81.

Pfister, Robert D.; Kovalchik, Bernard L.; Amo, Stephen F.;Presby, Richard C. 1977. Forest habitat types ofMontana. General Technical Report INT-34. Ogden, UT:US. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station.174 p.

Ryan, Kevin C.; Noste, Nonan V. 1985. Evaluatingprescribed fires. In: Lotan, James E.; Kilgore, Bruce M.;Fischer, William C.; Mutch, Robert W. tech. coords.Proceedings-Symposium and workshop on wildernessfue; 1983 November 15-18; Missoula, MT. GeneralTechnical Report INT-182. Ogden, UT: U.S. Departmentof Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest andRange Experiment Station: 230-238.

Schmidt, Wyman C.; Shearer, Raymond C.; Roe, Arthur L.1976. Ecology and silviculture of western larch forests.Technical Bulletin 1520. Washington, DC: U.S.Department of Agriculture. 96 p .

Shearer, Raymond C. 1976. Early establishment of conifersfollowing prescribed broadcast burning in westernlarch/Douglas-fir forests. Proceedings, Tall Timbers FireEcology Conference; 4:481-500.

Shearer, Raymond C. 1989. Fire effects on natural coniferregeneration in Montana. In: Baumgartner, David M.;Breuer, David W.; Zamom, Benjamin A.;Neuenschwander, Leon F.; Wakimoto, Ronald H.compilers and eds. Prescribed tire in the IntermountainRegion-forest site preparation and range improvement.1986 March 3-5; Spokane, WA. Pullman, WA:Washington State University, Cooperative Extension:19-33.

Stickney, Peter F. 1980. Data base for post-fire succession,first 6 to 9 years, in Montana larch-frr forests. GeneralTechnical Report INT-62. Ogden, UT: U.S. Departmentof Agriculture, Forest Service, Inter-mountain Forest andRange Experiment Station. 133 p.

Stickney, Peter F. 1982. Vegetation response to clearcuttingand broadcast burning on north and south slopes atNewman Ridge. In: Site preparation and fuelsmanagement on steep terrain: Proceedings of symposium;1982 February 15-17; Spokane, WA. Pullman, WA:Washington State University, Inland Empire ReforestationCouncil: 119-124.

Stickney, Peter F. 1986. First decade plant successionfollowing the Sundance Fire, northern Idaho. GeneralTechnical Report INT-197. Ogden, UT: U.S. Departmentof Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest andRange Experiment Station. 26 p.


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Jean M. Huffman and S.W. Blanchard’

Abstract-South Florida dry prairie and herbaceous wetlands are recognized as tire maintainedcommunities. Aerial photography was used to show how the woody vegetation in Myakka River State Park(Sarasota County, Florida) changed over approximately thirty years of fire exclusion (1939-1968). Rapidincreases occurred in Quercus virginiana and Serenoa renens uplands and in forested and shrubby wetlandassociations. Corresponding decreases occurred in dry prairies and herbaceous wetlands. Presentmanagement goals are to maintain and restore tire-dependant plant communities. Drought-condition bumsearly in the growing season appear to be mote effective in reducing woody species cover than traditionaldormant-season bums or wet growing-season bums.

INTRODUCTIONIncreases in woody vegetation are known to occur in manysoutheastern Coastal Plain plant communities following fireexcusion or when fire frequency is reduced (Heyward 1939;Alexander 1973; Platt and Schwartz 1990; Wade and others1980).

We mapped vegetation change over a thirty-year period offue exclusion in two areas within Myakka River State Park, a11,686 ha. preserve of dry prairie, pine flatwoods, marshesand oak-palm @uercus vireiniana, 0. laurifolia and Sabalpalmetto) hammock located in Sarasota and Manatee Countiesin Southwest Florida (Fig.1).

Vegetation changes that have occurred following fireexclusion in Florida dry prairies and imbedded wetlands weredocumented. We also mapped changes resulting from attemptsat restoration using the reintroduction of different types ofprescribed tires. Restoration efforts over the past severaldecades suggest that not just fire, but fire at a specific time ofyear and under specific moisture conditions is critical forrestoration of dry prairie habitats invaded by woody speciesduring periods of tire suppression.

Fig. I.- Myakka River State Park and location of study sites.The inset map of Florida shows Sarasota and ManateeCounties, the counties within which the park is located.

‘Park Biologist, Myakka River State Park, Florida Department ofNatural Resources, Division of Recreation and Parks, Sarasota,Florida; and Research Assistant, Myakka River State Park, SarasotaFlorida.


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ClimateThe climate of Southwest Florida is characterized by anannual cycle that includes a dry season from October throughMay and a wet season from June through September (Chenand Gerber 1990). At Myakka River State Park, 61 percentof the average total annual rainfall (144 cm) occurs during thewet season (Fitzgerald 1990). The wet season does notcorrespond exactly to the growing season, which typicallyoccurs from April through October. Therefore, at the timethat growth of plants is initiated in the spring, the dry seasonhas not yet ended.

Fire HistoryMyakka River State Park lies within an area that has a longhistory of lightning-ignited fves and fires set by cattlemen.The thunderstorm (lightning) season typically occurs fromMay through September in south Florida, and approximately95 percent of total annual thunderstorm days occur during thisperiod (Robbins and Meyers 1989). Fire records fromsouthwest Florida indicate that naturally-ignited tires bum thelargest areas at the end of the dry season in early spring(Miller and others 1983). Presumably this was the historicpattern of burning in this region before European settlement.For the last 100 years or more cattlemen and ranchers haveburned primarily in the winter, in the beginning and middle ofthe dry season. These bums usually occur after the passageof a cold front brings rain, when fuel moistures, and oftenwater tables, are high and seasonal wetlands have standingwater.

The State Park was established in 1934, a period of stronganti-fire sentiment in the Southeastern United States. Duringthe late 1930’s and early 1940’s the Civilian ConservationCorps made the fighting of fires at Myakka a high priority.Hundreds of miles of firebreaks were cut throughout the parkand fves were extinguished whenever possible. Althoughmany lightning fires were ignited, they were suppressed asquickly as possible. The result was not total fire exclusionbut a much reduced fire frequency in most areas. This tire-suppression policy continued in effect through the late 1960’swhen prescribed burning was accepted as a management tool.Prescribed fire was not regularly used within the park untilthe late 1970’s, when winter-burning was initiated. Spring andsummer growing season bums were initiated in the early1980’s (Robert Dye pen. comm.).

Plant CommunitiesEarly accounts of the Myakka region suggest an almosttreeless landscape of dry and wet prairies, and scattered pineflatwoods in which closed canopy hardwood forest occurredonly as scattered, small “islands” and narrow borders alongthe river and lake systems. (Townshend 1875; Reid 1843).These are still the major habitat types present in MyakkaRiver State Park today.

A large Portion of the park (6,0000-7,000 ha.) consists of dryprairie, which contains a highly diverse mix of grasses (e.g.Axistida stricta Schizachvrium scoDarium, and Sorghastrum- -9secundum) forbs (e.g. Rhvnchospora olumosa, Lachnocaulonanceps, Pityousis nraminifolia, and Caroheohorousodoritissima) low shrubs ( e.g. Ouercus geminata, Vacciniumdarrowii Ilex &, and Lvonia fruticosa ), and saw-) -palmetto (Serenoa reoens). Florida dry prairie is a firemaintained plant community that occurs only in south centraland southwest Florida (Davis 1967, Harper 1927). Thiscommunity has been globally ranked (GZ) as threatened byThe Nature Conservancy (Florida Natural Areas Inventory1990). Dry prairie is the native habitat for several species oflisted animals including Crested Caracara, FloridaGrasshopper Sparrow and Florida Burrowing Owl, all speciesor subspecies which were common in the 1940’s (Van Duyn1941) but do not regularly occur in Myakka River State Parktoday.

Hundreds of small wetlands are scattered within dry prairieand flatwoods areas. These wetlands have seasonallyfluctuating water levels, typically drying near the end of thedry season. Dominant species include Hvoericumfasciculatum, Panicum hemitomon, and Pontederia cordata-.

Hammocks are closed canopy forests that are dominated byQuercus vireiniana and Sabal palmetto. They occur along theMyakka River and lakes, and, in smaller patches adjacent toother wetlands. Groundcover is generally lacking orconsisting of a sparse cover of herbs.

METHODSWe used Soil Conservation Service and Florida Department ofTransportation aerial photos from the 1940’s and 1980’s tomap vegetation in two selected areas within the park. Weselected sites that currently have large amounts of dry prairie-hammock edge. The Wilderness Preserve site coversapproximately 850 acres and the Mossy Island Hammock sitecovers approximately 1,500 acres. Site locations are shown infigure 1. In the earlier photographs, boundaries between areaswith and those without canopy cover were quite distinct, asmost canopied areas had 90 percent or greater tree cover.Boundaries between forested and nonforested communitieswere very sharp. In photos from the later series, theseboundaries were not as clear. Ground-truthing was used forthe 1990 series.

Wilderness Preserve areas with greater than 75 percentcanopy cover in March 1948 and March 1985 weredelineated. The majority of cover consisted of live oaks(Quercus virainiana), laurel oaks (0. laurifolia), sabal palms(Sabal palmetto), and smaller numbers of South Florida slashpines (Pinus elliottii var. densa). Wetlands with woody cover


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of red maple (Acer rubrum), buttonbush (Cenhalanthusoccidentalis), willow (Saiix caroliniana), or popash (Fraxinuscaroliniana) were also included in the canopy-coveredcategory. Wherever oaks (especially laurel oaks in wetterareas) invaded wetlands, the area was then classified asforested upland.

Mossy Island aerials taken in April 1940 and January 1986were used both to delineate canopy-covered areas and todistinguish between forested and open wetlands. Speciescomprising upland and wetland woody cover in Mossy Islandwere the same as those comprising Wilderness Preserveupland and wetland cover.

Fires that occur during the growing season, after an extendeddry period are hereafter referred to as dry growing-seasonburns. Reductions in the cover of woody vegetation after onedry growing-season bum in the Wilderness Preserve studyarea, and after two, or in some sections three, dry-growing-season burns in the Mossy lsland Hammock area, are shownusing the same mapping methods on aerial photography fromNovember 1990.

Community boundaries were mapped and digitized into a PCARC/lNPO Geographic information System computer

database. The digital maps were transformed into state planecoordinates, and areas occupied by the vegetation types werecalculated. The aerial photographs were not rectified; becauselandmarks had changed during the course of 40 yesrs, it wassometimes difficult to locate registration points precisely.Transforming maps lo state plane coordinates helped minimizeerrors resulting from the use of unrectified aerials. We alsoused percentage of area covered rather than total acreage tocompensate for unrectified aerials.

Field observations were used for descriptions of vegetationcomposition and change in the mapped areas. Fire andweather records kept at Myakka River State Park wereconsulted for information on fire conditions.


Before Fire Suppression (1940’s Maps)In the 1940’s vegetation cover of the two study areas waspredominantly open, with non-woody vegetation the dominantcover type. Open prairie reached to the lake shore in bothseries (see Figs. 2 and 3). Most wetlands were open, withvery few forested or woody wetlands. Hardwood hammocksoccurred in smail areas closely associated with wetlands.

1948 1985 1990




Fig. 2.- Wilderness Preserve canopy cover in 1948 before fire exclusion,. in 1985, after fire exclusion; and in 1990, afterone dry-growing season bum. Shaded areas indicate canopy cover. The north, east and southern edges are bounded byroads. The west side is bordered by the marshes of the Lower Lake Myakka.

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After Fire Suppression (1980’s)Uplands - In both sites woody canopy coverage (mostlyOuercus virpiniana and 9. laurifolia) increased dramaticallyfrom 1948 to 1986.

Where oaks were adjacent to dry prairie or pine flatwoodsthey expanded into these habitats (Figs. 2,3). In theWilderness Preserve Series (fig. 2) open areas decreased from66 percent to 26 percent of the total area (fig. 4). In theMossy Island series (fig. 5) dry prairie decreased from 58 to39 percent of the total mapped area. Nearly all of thisdecrease is traceable to the large increases oak stands. It isimportant to note that oak canopy stands that have expandedinto dry prairie since the 1940’s are very different from theoriginal oak hammocks. Oak stands that have developedduring fi exclusion have a dense palmetto understory (Fig.6). In contrast, the older, pre-fue-exclusion hammock has anopen understory or a sabal palm understory (Fig. 7), withpalmettos only along hammock fringes. It is this border fringeof oaks and palmettos that have expanded tremendouslyduring the period of fire suppression.

Wetlands - Nearly half of open wetlands were lost betweenthe 1940’s and 1986 (Figs. 2 and 3). In the Mossy Islandseries in 1940 most wetlands were open and grassy, andwetlands of this type constituted 14 percent of the total area.In 1986 many wetlands were dominated by trees or shrubsand open wetlands constituted only 8 percent of the total area.

Areas of forested wetlands increased from 1 to 4 percent ofthe total area. This change accounts for 37.5 percent of openwetland loss. Fifty-one percent of open wetland reduction

Fig. 3.- Mossy Island Hammock study site vegetation in 1940before fue exclusion; in 1986 after fure exclusion; and in1990, after two dry-growing season bums.


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represents shifts to the forested upland category. Constructionof a shallow drainage ditch (combined with fire exclusion)contributed to the extensive change from wetland to oak coverm the northeast section of the map. The remaining openwetland reduction is represented by the open wetland area thatwas converted to shallow borrow pits.

All woody species were mapped as a group, however therewere several patterns apparent in woody species increase inwetlands. Open wetlands that are surrounded by hammockare less likely to bum as often as wetlands surrounded by dryprairie. These wetlands were the most hkely to change fromopen herbaceous to woody cover during the period of fueexclusion. This change was especially rapid in floodplainwetlands along the river and lake, and in other wetlands thatcontained areas of hardwoods in 1940 (compare 1940 and1986 maps in Fig. 3).

Woody species, including Mvrica cerifera (wax myrtle),Fraxinus caroliniana (popash), && caroliniana (willow), andCephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush), expanded theircoverage of formerly grassy wetlands. The most commonwoody colonizer of small floodplain marshes was popash.This species was not observed, however, to colonize isolated,prairie wetlands. Laurel oaks often moved into the outerzones of wetlands bordered by hammocks. Very little oakcover increase occurred in wetlands that did not have adjacenthammock.

Cover type

Open uplandsand uettands

Percentage of cover

1948 j9&

66 26

Closed canopy uplandsand wettands

34 7 4

Fig. 4.-Vegetation cover Wilderness Preserve, Myakka RiverState Park.

Cover type Percentage of cover

gwJ 1986

Open upland 58 39

Forested upland 1 8 39

Open wetland 1 4 8

Forested uettand 1 4

Borrou p i t s 0 1

Upper take 9 9

Fig. 5.- Vegetation cover of Mossy Island Hammock, MyakkaRiver State Park.

Fig. 6.- Live oaks with dense saw palmetto understory typical of areas where oak has expanded into dry prairie since the 1940%.


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In both floodplain hammock and prairie-bordered ponds waxmyrtle sometimes established in the outer zones. Willow,buttonbush or more rarely, maple, colonized or expandedcoverage in the deeper, more central wetland zones.

After Reintroduction of Fire (1990 maps)Prescribed burning was initiated at Myakka River State Parkin the late 1960’s. Burning in the sixties and seventies haltedthe expansion of young oaks but resulted in little or noreduction of existing canopy cover. Because fires wereconducted in the traditional manner during the dormant-season(winter), at times when fuel moisture and water table levelswere. relatively high, fires did not move into the oak-palmettoareas. Pie also did not move into wetlands with increasedwoody vegetation. Growing-season prescribed bums wereinitiated in the park in 1983, but it was not until 1986 that abum moved into oak-palmetto and woody wetland areas.

Mossy Island Hammock. Three bums have occurred in theMossy Island Hammock area between 1986 and 1990. OnMay 31, 1986, at the end of a long dry season a fire,resulting from a natural ignition, occurred in the Mossy IslandHammock area. Prior to this fire, the area was last partiallyburned by a lightning-ignited fire which occurred on August21, 1985. This fire occurred late in the afternoon and wasaccompanied by high humidities and rain. Typical of earlierbums it did not result in any significant reduction in oak orwoody wetland species cover (Robert Dye pers. comm.). Theeffects of the May, 1986 bum were quite different from thoseof previous bums. Many oaks that had invaded dry prairiesince 1940 were damaged severely. Some individuals withd.b.h. over 12 inches were killed outright; epicormic andbasal resprouting occurred on others. This fire was the first tocause substantial reductions in oak canopy cover.

A second growing-season headfve burned into the same areaon June 30, 1988. This fire took place under only moderatelydry conditions but also killed many oaks that presumably hadalready been weakened by the first fue. These bumsdemonstrated that fre can cause mortality of large oaks whena palmetto understory is present. Slash pine also survived thefire (Figure 8). No oaks in the older hammock areas withoutpalmetto understory were kiIled. Areas in which oak coverburned corresponded to areas that were dry prairie in 1948(see figs. 4 and 5).

The Mossy Island Hammock series also shows changes inwoody-wetland vegetation, Wetland water levels at the timeof these fires were low, especially during the 1988 bum. Thisallowed fue to sweep across wetlands, reducing woodyspecies cover.

The western portion of the Mossy Island Hammock study areaburned once more, on May 11, 1990, with an intense bum.The remainder of the area burned on May 24 and 31, 1990with a milder bum. The 1990 map of the Mossy IslandHammock series (fig. 3) shows the extent of woody speciescover reduction following the 3 bums of June 1986, June1988 and May 1990.

Wilderness Preserve. The Wilderness Preserve area wasburned in May 1983 under high humidities without anysignificant reduction of oak cover (Robert Dye, parkmanager, pers. comm.). The first growing-season fue underdry conditions occurred in this area on June 1, 1989. Thisfire occurred during a period of very low wetland water levelsand low humidities and reduced oak canopy coverage in oak-palmetto areas that had established during the period of fireexciusion. The 1990 Wilderness Preserve series map in Iigure2 shows the extent of hardwood canopy reduction in 1990after the dry growing-season fur: of June 1, 1989.

This fire occurred 90 days after the last l/2 inch rain whennearly all wetlands were without standing water. The fireburned into wax myrtle, wilIow, popash and buttonbush inareas that had increased in cover since 1948. The firereduced woody cover in wetlands and resulted in a return ofcharacteristic herbaceous species such as Panicum hemitomom(maidencane) and Polveonum nunctatum (smartweed). Noprevious prescribed bum had touched these areas.


Fire suppression and vegetation changeWhen fire suppression occurs the boundaries between habitattypes change (Myers 1985; Platt and Schwartz 1990). Ourdata suggests an expansion of a habitat type with elements ofdry prairie and hammock but which is actually neither. Thisoak-savanna, fringing habitat tyPe only, not the originalhammock, increased during the thirty-year period of fireexclusion. The dense cover of palmetto still present in theunderstory of this new habitat type burned under dry-condition prescribed fves and contributed the fuel thatresulted in oak mortality. These processes cause this boundarytype habitat between dry prairie and oak-palm hammock to bevery dynamic, expanding and contracting with varying fireregimes, while true hammock areas remained more stable.

While aerial photography can be used to illustrate oak canopycover increases and decreases, the changes within dry prairiesare more difficult to document. In the absence of fire shrubsand palmetto are known to increase, both in cover and height(Givens and others 1982; Hilmon 1969). These increases mayoccur at the expense of the herbaceous element of the dryprairie flora. The increase in palmetto and woody shrubsalters fire intensity and behavior, causing less frequent, more


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__-.--..- - _-Fig. 7.- Original hammock with live oaks and sabal palms, note absence of saw palmetto understory.

Fig. 8.- Fire kill and stress of live oaks in Mossy Island Hammock area, 1991. South Florida slash pines survived fires thatkilled large oaks.

8 1

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intense fires, which may contribute to oak mortality. Howeverthe reintroduction of fue, even during the dry growing-season, does not appear to be sufficient to control increasedamounts of saw palmetto occurring as a result of altered fireregimes (‘pers. obs.).

Fire and Hardwood MortalityOnly dry growing-season fves were observed to move intoshrub-dominated wetlands. Although other fves occasionally ’impacted the edge of the oak palmetto zone only dry growing-season fires were observed to move far into this zone andcause mortality in large oaks. These results are similar tothose found by (Platt and others 1991), who found that springfires caused the highest mortality rates for oaks in sandhillhabitats in north Florida. They found that fue temperaturewas not a significant factor in their study of oak mortality butsuggested that the phenological state of the vegetation was themost critical factor. We suggest that dry conditions appear tocause added stress to oaks making them even more vulnerableto fire during the growing season.

Management ConsiderationsFiie management plans often are implemented in areas thathave previously had a history of fur: suppression. Whenmanaging a natural area it is important to consider thevegetation changes that occurred during these fire suppressionperiods.

When reversal of fue exclusion changes is a management goalgrowing season bums are very useful for obtaining hardwoodcontrol. The growing season is recognized as the “natural”fue season in Florida. Growing season bums are known tostimulate flowering of some species and kill invading oaks(Platt and others 1991). Our present study demonstrates thesuccess of dry growing season fires in restoring herbaceouswetlands and reducing oak-palmetto fringe habitat. Manyrecognize the probable significance of spring drought fves(Robbins and Meyers 1989; Wade and others 1980), however,few managers of natural areas use prescribed fue underspring drought conditions.

Fires occurring under very dry conditions are more difficultto control and more likely to spot for long distances. Theseconsiderations must be taken into account but experienced firemanagers can conduct successful bums in very dry conditions.

A dry growing-season bum should not be implemented inareas with large fuel accumulations. A fuel reduction bummay be required in these cases and it may be necessary totake special precautions such as removing fuel that hasaccumulated around the bases of pines before attempting a drygrowing-season fire. General sensitivity of pines should beconsidered. It is important to think about any other possiblesensitive elements before conducting bums under very dryconditions.

CONCLUSIONSIn the absence of frequent fire, oaks colonize dry prairie andwetland edges, and hardwood wetland species increasedramatically within wetlands. Where plant communitiesdepend on frequent fire for maintenance, even a few decadesof fue exclusion can cause major changes in dominant woodyvegetation. The maintenance of open, grassy, dry prairie andwetlands in South Florida is dependent on frequent burning.

The reintroduction of fire after an extended period of fireexclusion, however, does not always reverse the abundance ofwoody species that have increased as a result of altered fireregimes. Prescribed fire usually does not move into longexcluded areas that have oak canopy cover. Even when firedoes occur in these areas usually very low or no mortality ofwell-established hardwoods occurs.

Observations of dry growing-season bums at Myakka indicatethat such bums, which usually occur in South Florida at theend of the dry season and the beginning of the lightningseason (April and May) may be an important element ofhabitat management. Conducting all bums under conditionswhen fuel moisture and water levels are high may be causingsignificant shifts to occur in vegetation, especially inwetlands. Growing season bums under dry conditions at theend of the dry season, were almost certainly ‘part of thepresettlement fire regime. At least a periodic bums of thistype may be necessary for the long-term maintenance ofwetland plant communities.

Dry growing-season bums have also been observed to killwell-established hardwoods - large oaks in dry prairie andvarious woody species in wetlands. In areas where hardwoodcover has increased as a result of long-term fire exclusion orlong intervals between fines, dry growing-season fire thereforeis an important component of a fire management plan where.restoration and reversal of fse-exclusion effects is amanagement goal.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSWe thank Dr. William J. Platt for his many insightfulsuggestions which greatly improved this paper; Robert Dye,District 8 Manager, Florida D.N.R., Division of Recreationand Parks, for his dedication to natural areas management andresearch, and his support of this project; and Nina Arlet whoprovided the photographs.


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LITERATURE CITEDAlexander, T.R., and A.G. Crook. 1973. Recent and long-

term vegetation changes and patterns in south Florida.Final Rep. Part 1. USDI Natl. Park Serv. NTIS No. PB231939.

Chen E. and J.F. Gerber. 1990. In (R. Myers and J. Ewel,eds., Ecosystems of Florida. University of CentralFlorida Press, Orlando, Florida.

Davis, J. H., Jr. 1967. General map of the natural vegetationof Florida. Circ. S-178, Inst. Food Agric. Sci., Agric.Exp. Stn., University of Florida, Gainesville.

Fitzgerald, S.M. 1990. Small mammal, bird and plantresponses to the rehabilitation of a dry prairie grasslandassociation using fire and roller chopping applied in twoseasons. Unpublished thesis, Univ. of Florida.Gainesville.

Florida Natural Areas Inventory and FL. D.N.R. 1990. Guideto the natural communities of Florida. Tallahassee,Florida.

Givens, K. T., J. N. Layne, W. G. Abrahamson and S. C.White-Schuller. 1982. “Structural changes andsuccessional relationships of five Florida Lake WalesRidge plant communities”. Bulletin of the TorreyBotanical Club. 111:8-18.

Harper, R. M. 1927. Natural resources of Southern Florida.18th Annual Report of the Florida State GeologicalSurvey.

Heyward, F. 1939. The relation of fire to stand compositionof longleaf pine forests. Ecology 20:287-304.

H&non, J. B. 1969. Autecology of saw palmetto (Serenoarepens (Bartram) Small). Phd. Dissertation. DukeUnivers i ty .

Miller, J., J. Huffman and J. Morris. 1983. The changinglandscape of North Pott, Florida. Unpublished Report,Environmental Studies Program, New College of theUniv. of S. Florida. Sarasota, Florida.

Platt, W.J. and M.W. Schwartz. 1990. Temperate hardwoodforests. In (R. Myers and J. Ewe], eds.), Ecosystems ofFlorida. University of Central Florida Press, Orlando.

Platt, W.J., J.S. Glitzenstein and D.R. Streng. 1991.Evaluating pyrogenicity and its effects on vegetation inlongleaf pine savannas. In Proceedings of the Annual TallTimbers Fire Ecology Conference 1989. Tallahassee,Florida.

Reid, S. 1843. U.S. survey notes and plats for Township 37South Range 20 East and Township 36 South Range 20East. Florida Department of Natural Resources,Tallahassee.

Robbins, L.E. and R.L. Myers. 1989. Seasonal effects ofprescribed burning in florida: a review. NongameWildlife Report. Florida Game and Freshwater FishCommission Nongame Wildlife Program. Tallahassee,Florida.

Townshend, F.T. 1875. Wildlife in Florida. Hurst andBlackett London, England.

Van Duyn, G. 1941. Biological reconnaissance, MyakkaRiver State Park, Florida, with preliminary check Lists ofvertebrate fauna. Unpublished Report Florida ParkService.

Wade, D., J. Ewe1 and R. Hofstetter. 1980. Fire in SouthFlorida eosystems. U.S.D.A. Forest Service GeneralTechnical Report SE-17. Southeastern Forest ExperimentStation Asheville, North Carolina.

Myers, R.L. 1985. Fire and the dynamic relationship betweenFlorida sandhill and sand pine scrub vegetation. Bull. ofthe Torrey Bot. Club 112:241-252.


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William L. Bake8

Abstract-Plant succession after fires is often considered a relatively predictable process, yet the possibilityof alternative outcomes, or multiple stable states, has not been thoroughly studied. The present studymakes use of field data collected along a livestock exclosure fence on a site near Pikes Peak, CO, at anelevation of about 3350 m. These data suggest that the west-facing part of the site was once occupied by asubalpine forest dominated by Picea enaelmannii and that this forest was burned in about A.D. 1867.Livestock grazing discouraged tree regeneration until a major decrease in use in the mid-1940’s. On thegrazed side of the fence, the forest became dominated by Pinus aristata, a tree commonly found on drier,rockier sites like that produced on this moister site by heavy grazing. On the ungrazed side of the fencePicea eneelmannii appears lo be regaining its dominance. This is an example of extrinsically producedalternative outcomes, a successional result that warrants further study.

INTRODUCTIONPlant succession after fires and other natural disturbances hastraditionally been viewed as a relatively predictable processending in reestablishment of the predisturbance climaticclimax vegetation. This traditional postfire succession model,which derives from the ideas of Clements (1916), has formedthe basis for much research on posttire succession (e.g.Fischer and Bradley 1987). The possibility of relativelypermanent alternative outcomes, or multiple stable states(Helling 1973), has been raised (Jameson 1987) but has notbeen demonstrated with empirical data.

The multiple stable states model was developed to account forthe observation that some ecological systems can be movedinto alternative states by insect outbreaks, overgrazing,overfishing, pollution, and other disturbances. The essentialcharacteristics of a system with multiple stable states is thatthe original state is not regained once the disturbance isdiscontinued (Holling 1973). The existence of multiple stablestates can be demonstrated theoretically (e.g. May 1977), butthe empirical evidence for their existence has been challenged(Connell and Sousa 1983). Connell and Sousa suggest that allpurported examples fail for one or more of three reasons: (1)the physical environment is different in the different alternatestates; (2) the alternate states persist only when disturbancesare maintained; or (3) the evidence is simply inadequate.

Succession after fires in southern Rocky Mountain subalpineforests is often slow and variable (Stahelin 1943; Veblen andLorenz 1986). There is some evidence of failure to restorepre-fire tree composition (Veblen and Lorenz 1986), but noclear evidence of multiple stable states. The evidencepresented here suggests that livestock grazing following a firecan alter the course of succession, and that the result may bea potentially stable alternative forest.

‘Assistant Professor of Geography and Recreation, University ofWyoming, Laramie, WY 82071.


STUDY SITEThe study site consists of two hillsides in a subalpine forestabout 7 km south-southeast of the summit of Pies Peak,Colorado (figs. 1 and 2). The forest is now dominated bybristlecone pine (Pinus aristata), Engelmann spruce (piceaengelmannii), and quaking aspen (Po~ulus tremuloides).Smaller numbers of limber pine (Pinus flexilis) are present.Elevation of the sloping study area ranges from 3,290 to3,400 m. Treeline is at about 3,650 m.

The study is focused on vegetation on two sides of a fencethat prevents livestock that graze on a U.S.D.A. ForestService allotment south of the fence from entering a protectedwatershed owned by the City of Colorado Springs (fig. 1).The fence was installed between 1890 and 1902, and thewatershed on the north side has not been grazed by livestocksince that time (Personal communication, Bennie Baucom,Superintendent, Water System Operations, City of ColoradoSprings). The Forest Service lands south of the fence are partof the Deer Park Unit of the Beaver C&H Allotment, whichhas been a designated cattle allotment since the early 1900’s(U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Pikes Peak Ranger Districtrecords). Forest Service records of grazing levels in thisallotment are spotty, but by the 1950’s grazing had beenreduced to less than 20 percent of the 1930 level (fig. 3a).Evidence of excessive use was apparent by the 1930’s. In1934, Forest Ranger William Cochran commented in a memoto the Forest Supervisor that “...a very heavy reduction of thepresent use must be made” (Working Plans, Pies PeakDistrict Office, Colorado Springs). The site was burned by alarge forest fire, which is discussed below. The fire burnedboth sides of the fence and much of the area in figure 2.

METHODSSix 20- by 50-m (0.1 ha) plots were sampled. Plots 1, 3, and5 were on the south (grazed) side of the fence, and plots 2, 4,and 6 were on the north (ungrazed) side of the fence.

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Figure I.-Looking east along the fenceline at the west-facing part of the site. The ungrazed side, with abundant Picea

eneelmannii and m, is on the left, and the grazed side, with abundant Pinus aristata, is on the right. The fire burned

across the entire hillside.


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Figure 3.-(a) History of cattle use on the Deer Park Unit of the Beaver C&H Allotment. Data are from U.S. ForestService-Pies Peak Ranger District records. (b) Dates of establishment of largest Pinus aristata. Solid bars are dates fromcores that contained the actual center of the tree. Shaded bars are dates estimated from cores that were close to containingthe center (three or fewer years added to estimate the date). Unshaded bars are dates from cores that were an estimated 4-8years from containing the center. (c) Dates of establishment of largest picea engelmannii. The shading is as in (b).

Elevation, aspect, and slope were identical in adjoining plots(table 1). In each plot I tallied all trees, including seedlingsand saplings, by size class. Seedlings are defined as stems< 5 cm diameter and < 1 m tall. Saplings are < 5 cmdiameter and > 1 m tall. The remaining size classes,beginning at 5.0 cm diameter, are all 5 cm wide (e.g. 5 to9.99 cm).

Table 1. --Environmental data for thesix fenceline plots.

Envi romental variabiesPlot

Elevation Aspect S l o p e

To determine the composition and structure of the prefireMeters - - - - - D e g r e e s - - - - -

forest, we tallied by size classes the standing dead anddowned trees killed by the tire in plots 5 and 6. Standing

1 3,307 100 22

dead trees were not sufficiently abundant in the other plots.Nearly all the trees killed in the fue could be identiIied to

2 3,307 100 22

species, and most stems remained intact, although smallertrees probably were consumed by the fire.

3 3,307 285 20

4 3,307 285 20To determine the approximate date when trees becameestablished following the fire, we removed increment cores 5 3,377 270 19from the bases of 34 of the largest P. aristata and 9 of thelargest p. engelmannii. The cores were sanded, and each 6 3,377 270 19core’s rings were counted under a stereomicroscope. Whenthe core did not extend to the center of a stem, the number ofadditional rings needed to reach the center was estimated.


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First the radius of the circle that contained the first ring onthe core was estimated. Then the number of rings that mightoccur within that radius was estimated by multiplying theradius in cm by the average density of rings over the lengthof the core (rings/cm of core).

The date of the forest fire was determined by crosscorrelating tree-ring width variations in 14 standing deadburned trees with ring-width variations in the AlmagreMountain master chronology developed by the University ofArizona’s Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research (Drew 1974).This chronology is from a site approximately 2 km east of thestudy area. Tree-ring widths were measured with astereomicroscope and a computer-assisted Henson incrementalmeasuring machine. Ring-width time series were correctedfor growth trends by fitting a negative exponential or straightline to each series. The series were then standardized.INDEX, a program produced by the University of Arizona’sLaboratory of Tree-Ring Research (Graybill 1979), was usedto perform these computations. Each series, including theAlmagre Mountain series, was then pre-whitened by fittingstandard autoregressive-moving average (ARMA) time seriesmodels. This is necessary to avoid spurious results fromcross-correlation (Yamaguchi 1986). The last year of growthpresent on each burned tree was then determined by floatingeach time series against the Almagre Mountain chronologyand locating the highest cross-correlation coefficient.

RESULTSThe tire probably occurred in A.D. 1867. Many of the lastyears of growth present on the burned trees, based on thering-width cross correlations, are near that date. Last yearsof growth for 14 burned trees were: 1867, 1867, 1866, 1866,1861, 1861, 1860, 1858, 1856, 1851, 1847, 1840, 1828, and1815. The last year of growth is not necessarily the fire year,as the tire might have burned into the stem, removing theouter part of the core. Thus the evidence from the burnedtrees only suggests that the fire occurred in or after 1867.The abundance of dates in the 1860’s suggests that the fireoccurred within a few years of 1867. The oldest living treeCp. engelmannii) contained 121 rings and an estimated oneadditional ring to the center, for a pith date of A.D. 1867,suggesting that 1867 was the actual fire year.

The prefire forest on the west-facing part of the site wasdominated by g. engelmannii. Stems in diameter classes fromabout 15 to 25 cm were most numerous, and only a few _P.aristata were present (fig. 4). The null hypothesis that theprefire size class distribution for _P. engelmannii in plot 5 doesnot differ from the preiire distribution in plot 6 (across thefence) cannot be rejected at the 0.05 level of significance (chi-square=8.70 and d.f.=6).

While prefire size class distributions in adjoining plots onopposite sides of the fence had not differed significantly, therewere significant differences between posttire size classdistributions (fig. 4). In general, P. aristata was much moreabundant on the grazed side of the fence, particularly in thewest-facing plots (3-6). The nuU hypothesis, that P. aristataage class distributions were the same on both sides of thefence, was rejected at the 0.05 level of significance (chi-square=51.86 and d.f.=6), for paired plots 1 and 2, butcould not be tested for the remaining plots (too many zeroentries). Nonetheless, these distributions are completelydifferent (fig. 4). P. aristata is much more common on thegrazed side of the fence, and p. eneelmannii was generallymuch more abundant on the ungrazed side of the fence (fig.4). The null hypothesis, that p. engelmannii distributionswere the same on both sides of the fence, was rejected at the0.05 level of significance for paired plots 3 and 4 (chi-square= 16.41 and d.f. =5) and paired plots 5 and 6 (chi-square=53.59 and d.f.=6), but could not be tested for pairedplots 1 and 2. Po~1~1us tremuloides was also more abundanton the ungrazed side of the fence, but was absent from bothplots 3 and 4 (fig. 4). The null hypothesis, that fl.tremuloides distributions were the same on both sides of thefence, was rejected at the 0.05 level of significance for pairedplots 1 and 2 (chi-square=22.36 and d.f. =3).

DISCUSSIONThese data suggest that a wildfire in A.D. 1867 burned awest-facing hillside subalpine forest that was dominated by _P.enrrelmannii. p. engelmannii began reestablishing on theburned hillside immediately after the tire, but had not fullyreoccupied the site when livestock grazing began. Grazingprobably occurred on both sides of the fence until the fencewas installed sometime between 1890 and 1902. g.eneelmannii continued to reestablish on both sides of thefence, but at a slower rate on the south side due to livestockuse. When the intensity of livestock use was decreased to 20percent of its former level, in the 1940’s, the environmenthad been modified by the effects of grazing on the vegetation.As a consequence, the site probably had lower cover of Sa&and other subalpine plants (as is apparent now-fig. I), andthus greater insolation received at ground level, resulting inan effectively drier site. ,P. aristata is typically found ondrier, more southerly-facing, rockier sites, often in closeproximity to moister, more northerly-facing, less rocky _P.engelmannii sites (Baker, unpublished data). The grazingmay thus have shifted the environment on this site toward onefavoring 11. aristata establishment.U n t i l g r a z i n g w a sdecreased, establishment was not possible. Pearson (1934)has described a similar pattern in which Pinus ponderosaestablishment was favored when heavy grazing, whichdecreased competition from grass, was followed by lightergrazing, that allowed tree seedlings to survive.

Five of eight posttire p. eneelmannii became establishedbetween 1886 and 1921, whereas most of the largest _P.aristata originated between 1934 and 1952 (Fig. 3c, 3b).


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Figure 4.-Size class distributions for all live trees present in the six fenceline plots and for dead and downed trees in plots 5and 6. Size classes are: SE=Seedlings (< 1 m tall and <5 cm diameter), SA=Saplings (> 1 m tall and < 5 cm diameter).Other size classes are 5.0 cm wide, with the label indicating the lower limit of the size class.

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It is not known whether the II. aristata and p. tremuloidespostfire forest on the east-facing part of the site (plots 1 and2) represents reestablishment of the pretire forest. Theprefire composition is unknown. P. aristata is common in thepostlire forest on both the grazed and ungrazed sides of thefence, suggesting that on this part of the site grazing is notthe primary reason for p. aristata abundance. This part of thesite is probably drier, however, because its aspect issomewhat more southerly than that in plots 3 to 6. This drierenvironment may have favored _P. aristata postfireestablishment even without grazing.

The pattern of succession on the ungrazed part of the west-facing burned hillside has been as expected. _P. eneelmanniihas returned and has reestablished dominance. In the grazedarea on this hillside, however, p. engelmannii has notreestablished dominance. P. aristata has achieved dominanceand will likely retain it for some time. The traditionalsuccessional model is not appropriate in this case.

1s this, then, an example of multiple stable states? The casedescribed here fails to fulfill Connell and Sousa’s (1983) firstcriterion, as the environment & different on opposite sides ofthe fence and the difference is the result of an extrinsicinfluence--overgrazing. The environment is different becauseSa& is nearly absent from the grazed side of the fence (Fig.1). This results in a different microenvironment on the twosides of the fence at ground level. The case described heredoes, however, meet the second criterion of Connell andSousa, as the alternative state would persist if the disturbancewere excluded. Excluding livestock from the south side ofthe fence could conceivably reverse most of the abiotic effectsof grazing and even some of the biotic changes, but the p.aristata population is firmly established and is not likely to dieif livestock are removed. Moreover, the coincidence of peakp. aristata invasion with a decline in grazing intensity (fig. 3),suggests that the alternative state of 52. aristata dominance isnow favored by removal of the disturbance source.

ConnelJ and Sousa also argue that the persistence of thealternative state must be demonstrated through at least oneturnover of the population. f2. aristata has a maximumlifespan of over 1,500 years (Krebs 1972), and forestscontaining trees that are 400 or more years old are common

(Baker, unpublished data). Connell and Sousa’s requirementfor persistence is theoretically sound, but neither persistencenor the lack of it can be demonstrated in the near future. Thealternative state of _P. aristata dominance has already persistedfor about 50 years, however, a duration that is significant interms of forest management. I suggest that a true alternativestate should persist following removal of the disturbanceagent, but that a variety of inferential evidence of thispersistence should be acceptable.

The multiple stable states described by Connell and Sousa(1983), where the alternate state must be maintainedintrinsically (by the biota), have yet to be clearlydemonstrated to occur in nature. The rigorous criterion ofintrinsic maintenance these authors use may be justified froma theoretical standpoint, but it is important not to discouragefurther study of extrinsically produced and maintainedmultiple stable states.

Environmental changes accompany most kinds of naturaldisturbances and human land uses. The possibility ofunexpected outcomes folIowing these disturbances and landuses is thus of considerable interest. This possibility haspreviously been raised in connection with various humaninfluences on vegetation, including effects of tire suppression(Vale 1982), overgrazing (Anderson and Holte 1981; Walkerand others 1981; Westoby and others 1989), and clearcutlogging (Vale 1988). The failure of trees to regeneratefollowing fires (e.g. Payette and Gagnon 1985) due toclimatic change may also produce alternative states. Otherpotential examples of extrinsic multiple stable states have beenreviewed by HolIing (1973), Vale (1982), and Connell andSousa (1983).

In an increasingly managed world in which environmentalchanges accompany many ordinary human land uses, it iscritical to understand how and why persisting alternativestates may arise. Livestock grazing following fires mayproduce unexpected and persistent alternative outcomes.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSThis investigation was supported by University of KansasGeneral Research allocation #3954-X0-0038. DeborahPaulson assisted with the fieldwork. John Dunham and MarlaKerr assisted with the tree-ring analysis. Bennie Baucom ofthe City of Colorado Springs kindly permitted access to thewatershed.


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LITERATURE CITEDAnderson, J. E. and Holte, K. E. 1981. Vegetation

development over 25 years without grazing on sagebrush-dominated rangeland in southeastern Idaho. Journal ofRange Management 3425-29.

Clements, F. E. 1916. Plant succession: an analysis of thedevelopment of vegetation. Carnegie Institute ofWashington Publication 242, Washington, D.C.

Connell, J. H. and Sousa, W. P. 1983. On the evidenceneeded to judge ecological stability or persistence. TheAmerican Naturalist 121:789-824.

Drew, L. G., ed 1974. Tree-ring chronologies of westernAmerica. N. Colorado, Utah, Nebraska and SouthDakota. Chronology Series 1, Laboratory of Tree-RingResearch, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. 41 pp.

Fischer, W. C. and Bradley, A. F. 1987. Fire ecology ofwestern Montana forest habitat types. U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service, General Technical ReportINT-223, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 95PP.

Graybill, D. A. 1979. Revised computer programs for tree-ring research. Tree-Ring Bulletin 39:77-82.

Helling, C. S. 1973. Resilience and stability of ecologicalsystems. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 4:1-23.

Jameson, D. A. 1987. Climax or alternative steady states inwoodland ecology. p. 9-13 In: Everett, R. L., compiler.Proceedings-pinyon-juniper conference peno, NV-Jan.13-16, 19861. U.S. Department of Agriculture, ForestService, Genera1 Technical Report INT-215,lntermountain Research Station, Ogden, UT. 581 pp.

May, R. M. 1977. Thresholds and breakpoints in ecosystemswith a multiplicity of stable states. Nature 269:471-477.

Payette, S. and Gagnon, R. 1985. Late Holocenedeforestation and tree regeneration in the forest-tundra ofQuebec. Nature 313570-572.

Pearson, G. A. 1934. Grass, pine seedlings, and grazing.Journal of Forestry 32545555.

Stahelin, R. 1943. Factors influencing the natural restockingof high altitude bums by coniferous trees in the centralRocky Mountains. Ecology 24: 19-30.

Vale, T. R. 1982. Plants and people: vegetation change inNorth America. Resource Publications in Geography,Association of American Geographers, Washington, D.C.88 PP.

Vale, T. R. 1988. Clearcut logging, vegetation dynamics, andhuman wisdom. Geographical Review 78:375-386.

Veblen, T. T. and Lorenz, D. C. 1986. Anthropogenicdisturbance and recovery patterns in montane forests,Colorado Front Range. Physical Geography 7:1-24.

Walker, B. H., Ludwig, D., Holling, C. S., and Peterman,R. M. 1981. Stability of semi-arid savanna grazingsystems. Journal of Ecology 69:473-498.

Westoby, M., Walker, B., and Noy-Meir, I. 1989.Opportunistic management for rangelands not atequilibrium. Journal of Range Management 42(4):266-274.

Yamaguchi, D. K. 1986. Interpretation of cross correlationbetween tree-ring series. Tree-Ring Bulletin 46~47-54.

Krebs, P. V. H. 1972. Dendrochronology and the distributionof bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata Engelm.) in Colorado.PhD. Dissertation, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.211 pp .


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George P. Malanson and Walter E. W&man’

Abstract-Human-inducedclimatic change will affect Ihe processes and rates of species growth and thus therates of accumulation and the composition of fuel loads. The combination of altered furl loads and alteredweather patterns will result in altered fire regimes. Altered tire regimes will in turn affect species growthand community composition. This feedback can be incorporated in computer simulation models of theresponse of vegetation to a changing climate, but the ways species will grow in climates in which they donot now exist and the way this growth can be translated into fuel loads are not well understood forCalifornia shrublands, in which the continual production of basal sprouts allows shrubs to continue lifewhile some branches die, we propose that the apportionment of biomass into live and dead fuel classes isthe critical issue in modeling this feedback.

INTRODUCTIONIt is becoming increasingly clear that minimizing the risk ofwildfires and maximizing natural processes in wildlands areoften incompatible goals for land managers (cf. Malanson1985a). This realization has come with increasingunderstanding of the history and processes both of wildfireand of ecosystems. If land managers are to resolve theseconflicts, it is necessary that the relationship betweenwildfires and biotic elements of wild ecosystems bcunderstood. In this paper we discuss how human-inducedcl imat ic changes may affect w&&e-vegetation interactionsand how some aspects of the wildfire-vegetation relationshipmight be addressed in future research. We examine computersimulation models of population dynamics in Californiashrublands in which fire intensity is important, and weconsider the way in which ecosystem processes must betranslated into fuel dynamics.

The relationship between ecological processes and quantitativeestimalcs of life intensity has been addressed in a number ofecological studies. We used a calculation of fire intensity toassess the impacts of fire regime on Californian costal sagescrub (Westman and others 1981; Malanson and O’Leary1982). chaparral (Malanson and O’Leary 1983, and Frenchganigue (Malanson and Trabaud 1987). WC have alsoaltcmpted to determine what ecological processes produce fuelloads different enough to result in different fire intensities andrates of spread (Malanson and Butler 1984; Malanson andTrabaud 1988). The incorporation of fire behavior into aniterative computer simulation model of sp&s dynamics is,however, elementary. WC mod&d the dynamics ofCalifornian coastal sage scrub OVCf periods of 200 yearsunder a variety of lire regimes, and WC included the effects ofaltcrcd fit-c intensity at diffcrcnt fire inlcrvals in this model

‘Associate Professor of Geography, University of Iowa, Iowa City,IA, and Staff Scientist, Applied Science Division, Lawrence BerkeleyLahoralory, Be&&y, CA (Wait Weslman died 112191).

(Malanson 1983, 1985b). These studies and others like them,have shown that the dynamics of species populations andindividual growth affect fuel loads, and that these fuel loadsaffect fire behavior which in turn affects species dynamics.


Projected Changes and ResponsesIf the global climate changes, our present understanding of thefeedbacks between ecological processes and fue behaviormaybe inadequate for the purposes of managing fire regimes.Projections of general circulation models (GCM’s) indicatethat the global climate may warm from 1 to 5 “C in the nextcentury due to emissions of radiatively-active trace gases(Schneider 1991). Species responses to a change in climateare not easily predicted. The rate of change in climate at thePleistocene-Holocene boundary was not as rapid as thatprojected for the next century, and so analogs !?om the fossilrecord may not bc applicable. We know that species can livein less stressful (warmer and moister?) conditions than thoseoccurring in their natural range (Darwin 1859, MacArthur1972, Woodward 1991); yet we do not know how well

species will grow in their present locations if and when theclimate changes. The inertia of biogeographic response,which results from the advantage to species already occupyingsites, is likely to be important (cf. Cole 1985; Hanson andothers 1989). But eventually climatic change will alter relativeabundances in given locales and also the production of fuel(e.g., SuMing, this volume). The changes wilt also alter thefrequency of the conditions under which fires are ignited andspread (Beer and others 1988). These changes in frequencywill not be directly analogous to those that occurred duringthe Holocene (cf. Clark 1985). Current conceptions of theproblems of suppression and prescribed burning are based onthe pattern of fuel development and fire weather from therecent past. These concepts may not lit the patterns of thefilture (cf. van wagcncr 1987).


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First-Generation Model for Coastal Sage ScrubResearch on the effects of climatic change on Californiancoastal sage scrub suggests that altered fire regimes mayresult in greater changes in species composition than thedirect effects of climatic change (Malanson and Westman1991; Westman and Malanson 1991). We used a computersimulation model that was designed to examine the effects ofdifferent fire regimes under a constant climate and altered thefire intensities and ecological functions to include the effectsof climatic change. In this model, however, we simulatedconditions at a new equilibrium climate, and we did notinclude a feedback connecting plant growth, fuel, fire, andregeneration. We had previously made observations andestimated fuel loads in Californian coastal sage scrub(Westman and others 1981; Malanson 1985); we altered theseestimates as we judged appropriate to reflect climatic changesprojected by two different GCM’s. These GCM’s, the GISS(Hansen and others 1981) and GFDL (Manabe and Wetherald1980), project warmer temperatures and increasedprecipitation in southern California. To analyze the effects ofaltered temperature (Temperature runs), we changed the fuelloads by the same proportion as the change in total foliarcover projected for the species in question in a direct gradientanalysis: fuel load was reduced by 13%. To analyze theeffects of increased winter precipitation (Composite MoistureIndex, CM1 runs), we increased the dead fuel linearly fromzero at the time of fire up to double that currently found on40-year-old sites. Albini’s FIREMODS program (1976a),which makes use of Rothermel’s fire model (1972), was usedto calculate new fire intensities on the basis of the new totalfuel loads. As an index of fire intensity we used the totalheat release (Joules per square meter) calculated by theprogram (fig. 1). Albini (1976b) recommended total heatrelease as the best indicator of the effects of tire onvegetation. Because of the complexity of fire behavior andthe lack of functions describing the flux of heat from the fireto the regeneration organs of the plants, this index of intensityis best considered to be a surrogate measure of fire effect.

These fire intensities were used to alter the rates ofresprouting of the component species for the new climatesthrough previously described response functions based onfield observations (Malanson and Westman 1991). Underthese fire regimes thee are changes in the relative abundancesof the five species involved. However, overall cover changesonly when a IO-year fire interval, i.e., a short interval, isassumed; in this case, cover declines throughout the 200-yearperiod simulated. This result indicates that the increases indead me1 may be the most realistic assumption for mostconditions. But this assumption does not address the issue ofdeclining fuel loads under the lo-year-interval fire regime,which indicates that increasing fire intensities are not the onlyimpact. Neither does it address the fuel load changes thatwould occur if spcxies with different physiognomies wereconsidered. If the area were occupied by increasing cover ofgrasses or chaparral shrubs, the fuel loads would have to be

9 2






CMI r u n

Standard run


, 1

10 20 30 40


Figure 1. Fire intensities projected for coastal sage scrubunder assumptions of altered climate (doubled carbon dioxidelevels, GISS model). The Standard run is produced forcurrent observed fuel loads; the Temperature run indicates theresults of a decrease in me1 load assumed for an increase intemperature; the CMI (Composite Moisture Index) runindicates the results of an increase in fuel load assumed for anincrease in precipitation.

altered in a different ay than to simply assume change in thegrowth of the coastal sage scrub species. Therefore, it isnecessary to include the feedback between speciescomposition and growth in the iterative process of modelingfire in the simulation (e.g., fig 2).

FUEL RESPONSESThe concept that the growth of plants in a simulation shoulddetermine the tie1 load at the next tire seems straightforward.The fuel load, however, is more complex than a directmeasure of foliar cover or of biomass would indicate. Fi r s t ,the distribution of wood in different branch sizes, withdifferent surface to volume ratios and thus different rates ofcombustion, is known for present shrub species, but both thespecies and their growth forms may be altered under adifferent climate. Second, the heat content of the fuel,especially in Mediterranean-type ecosystems where thecontent of volatile oils is high, may change in anew climate.Third, the spatial distribution of fuels in three dimensions(e.g., grass-shrub proximity or fuel packing) could changewith changing grass/shrub biomass ratio. These three factorscould result in changes in both fire behavior and intensity,and thus in potential effects on vegetation. For the present,however, WC will discuss one change in the fuel load: theratio of live to dead biomass.

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Species tral ts Populations

FIR Intensity CONDITIONS Fsre regtme

f u e l t y p e s



F U E L b


Figure 2. Vegetative response to fire and climate with af&back to fire intensity through fuel load.

Importance of Dead FuelCalculations of fire intensity show that the livedead ratio isof great importance. Using the fuel loads reported bycountryman (1964) for light, medium, and heavy chaparral,we divided these fuels into six categories of live to dead fuelratios, and entered them into FIREMODS. The resultsindicate that especially at high fuel loads, when larger stemsthat are live contribute less to combustion, the proportion ofdead fuel greatly affects the estimation of fire intensity (fig.3). These results are not always consistent with oursimulations of tire intensity (total heat release) in coastal sagescrub in an altered climate: our estimates of fire intensityunder conditions of increased moisture availability(approximately 6 x lo61 rn? may be too high (fig. I), whileour calculations based on Countryman’s estimates of fuel loadfor light chaparral (approximately 2.4 x 106J rn-*) may be toolow (fig. 3).

Dead Fuel in Coastal Sage Scrub and ChaparralBoth chaparral and coastal sage scrub can produceconsiderable amounts of dead fuel during long fire-freeperiods. Chaparral has been noted for this feature, which isoften referred to as sencsccnce. In coastal sage scrub, weobserved that individual shrubs continually produce new basalbranches during the fire-free period (Malanson and Westman1985). Kecley and Keelcy (1988) ohset-ved the same

characteristic in certain chaparral species. A plant with thistrait can replace its dead branches with live ones, and thuscan produce new growth without expanding its area. Thisability is critical for the continued production of dead standingfuel. In the Mcditerrancan climate, standing dead fuel doesnot decompose rapidly, although fuel falling to the grounddoes not seem to accumulate, since litter loads arc not heavy.This trait of coastal sage and chaparral shrubs, whileindicating the importance of recording the change in fuelcharacteristics through time, may also indicate a pathway forassessing the potential effects of climatic change on standingdead fuel.

Standing dead fuel becomes common in these shrublands afterthe canopy has closed. This indicates that as the site becomescrowded, and perhaps as nutrient and moisture reservesbecome more finely divided among individual shrubs andeven among the branches of a single shrub, the ratio ofproduction to respiration (Ps/Pr) in and individual branchbecomes critical and that branch may then die. Under a



6 /



x IOJm4-

3 -

2 - Light, Medium, & HeavyChaparral Fuel Loads

I - (after Countryman 1964)

10 IS 35 SO 65 8 5


Figure 3. Fire intensities projected for three fuel loadsapportioned into six classes of live-todead fuel ratio.


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closed canopy, light levels for subcanopy leaves may beinsufficient to support a net positive Ps/Pr ratio. Thisreasoning allows us o link the production of dead fuel to theoverall crowding, or foliar cover, and a site--the abundancevariable most easily assessed.

Proposed Modeling of Fuel LoadsIn our current modeling work for both coastal sage scrub and

chaparral, we are incorporating the dynamics of dad fuel. Inour previous model of coastal sage scrub (Malanson 1984;Malanson and Westman 1991), and in other models of shruband forest dynamics (e.g., Botkin and others 1972; vanTongeren and Prentice 1986) growth is limited by crowding.In our previous model, when foliar cover reaches 90 percent,no further growth occurs in any iteration until enoughmortality has occurred to reduce cover below this threshold.In other models, and in our own current work, growth islimited much as population growth is limited in the logistic,i.e., exponential growth is increasingly reduced as an upperlimit, in our case of total foliar cover, is approached. Inorder to apportion this growth between live and dead fuels, itis necessary to assume that a proportion of the growthproduced during an iteration is in replacement of a branchthat has died. We propose to set the upper limit of totalfoliar cover at 150 percent on a site. When cover exceeds100 percent, however, an increasing proportion of thedecreasing amount of growth is considered to be replacementonly (fig. 4). The increase in fuel will proceed as follows:following fire, live growth will begin to Ii11 a site; as the sitefills, the rate of growth will slow; once the canopy closes, therate of growth continues to slow and much of the growth willbe recorded as an accumulation of dead fuei; no upper limitfor dead fuel is specified a priori. In this function, climatehas no direct effect on the quantity of dead fuel, but affects itonly indirectly by influencing growth.

150 ----“---111-rTotal

I /





Figure 4. Apportionment of growth into live and dead fuel asoverall growth is limited by crowding.

Them is another route to modeling dead fuel, however. Inearlier models, individuals or proportions of cohorts die: inthe forest dynamic models, individual trees die if their rate ofgrowth drops below a threshold; in our earlier simulation,mortality was a function of age. We propose to use thethreshold approach in new models of California shrublands.If growth is reduced below a threshold as climate changes, aproportion of the cohort, which is the unit of record in ourmodel, will die and that proportion of the biomass will beadded to the dead fuel category. Thus if climates becomemore harsh, mortality will increase and add to dead fuel,while simultaneously releasing extant shrubs from competitionand allowing continued growth.

In our present mode, fuel loads, both in terms of the biomassand the live-to-dead ratio, can then be calculated in asimulation as the growth of species responds to climaticchange. Fire behavior simulations that make use of modelslike FIREMODS require a great deal of computation; it willtherefore be best to calculate a matrix of fire intensities forfuel mixtures that vary in live-to-dead ratio, biomass, and thecontent of chaparral, coastal sage, and grass species (thedifferent physiognomic types vary in their fuel packing andsurface to volume ratios). When a hypothetical fire is tooccur in hypothetical vegetation, the fire intensity that isappropriate for the projected vegetation can be selected fromthe matrix. In this way the feedback between fuel andregeneration can be completed.

CONCLUSIONSThese models of species growth and fuel load cannot predictwith certainty the abundances of species in climates that donot now exist. They can indicate the general direction andmagnitude of changes we might expect. They certainly willhelp to pinpoint areas in which additional empirical work isneeded. While uncertainties do exist, it is probable that therates at which ecological processes operate in fireenvironments and the current patterns of fire regime and ofspecies distributions will change with climatic change (cf.Clark 1988). Investments in the planning and implementationof wildland and fire management programs can be moreefficient if models of the system in altered climatic conditionsare incorporated in the planning process.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSThis research is funded by a grant from the EnvironmentalProtection Agency through Interagency Agreement DN-89933219-01-o with the Department of Energy. Any viewsor opinions expressed here are those of the authors, and donot necessarily reflect those of the sponsoring agencies.


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LITERATURE CITEDAlbini, F.A. 1976a. Computer-Based Models of Wildland

Fire Behavior: A User’s Manual. Ogden, UT: U.S. ForestService.

Albini, F.A. 1976b. Estimating wildfire behavior and effects.U.S. Forest Service General Technical Report INT-30.

Beer, T., Gill, A.M. and Moore, P.H.R. 1988. Australianbushfire danger under changing climatic regimes. InPearman, C.I., ed. Greenhouse, Planning for ClimateChange. Canberra: CSIRO Division of AtmosphericResearch, pp. 42 l-427.

Botkin, D.B., Janak, J.F. and Wallis, J.R. 1972. Someecological consequences of a computer model of forestgrowth. Journal of Ecology 60: 849-872.

Clark, J.S. 1988. Effect of climate change on fire regimes innorthwestern Minnesota. Nature 334: 233-235.

Cole, K. 1985. past rates of change, species richness, and amodel of vegetational inertia in the Grand Canyon,Arizona. American Naturalist 125: 289-303.

Countryman, CM. 1964. Mass fires and iirc behavior. U.SForest Service Research Paper PSW-19.

Darwin, C. 1859. On the Origin of Species by Means ofNatural Selection. London: John Murray.

Hansen, J.E., Johnson, D., Lacis, A., Lebedeff, S., Lee, P.,Rind, D. and Russell, G. 1981. Climate impact ofincreasing carbon dioxide. Science 213: 957-966.

Hanson, J.S., Malanson, G.P. and Armstrong, M.P. 1989.Spatial constraints on the response of forest communitiesto climate change. In: Malanson, G.P., cd. Natural AreasFacing Climate Change. The Hague: SPB Academic, pp.l-23.

Kc&y, J.E. and Kccley, S.C. 1988. Chaparral. In: Barbour,M.G. and Billings, W.D., eds. North AmericanTerrestrial Vegetation. New York: Wiley, pp. 417-469.

MacArthur, R.H. Geographical Ecology. Princeton, NJ:Princeton University Press.

Malanson, G.P. 1984. Linked Leslie matrices for thesimulation of succession. Ecological Modelling 21: 13-20

Malanson, G.P. 1985a. Fire management in coastal sagescrub, southern California, USA. EnvironmentalConservation 12: 141-146.

Malanson, G.P. 1985b. Simulation of competition betweenalternative shrub life history strategies through recurrentfires. Ecological Modelling 27: 271-283

Malanson, G.P. and Butler, D.R. 1984. Avalanche paths asfuel breaks: implications for tire management. Journal ofEnvironmental Management 19: 229-23 8.

Malanson, G.P. and O’Leary, J.F. 1982. Post-tireregeneration strategies of Californian coastal sage shrubsOecologia 53: 355-358.

Malanson, G.P. and O’Leary, J.F. 1985. Effects of tire andhabitat on regeneration in Mediterranean-type ecosystems:Ceanothus spinosus chaparral and coastal sage scrub.Oecologia Plantarum 6: 183-195.

Malanson, G.P. and Trabaud, L. 1987. Ordination analysis ofcomponents of resilience of Ouercus coccifem garrigue.Ecology 68: 463-473.

Malanson, G.P. and Trabaud, L. 1988. Computer simulationsof tire behavior in garrigue in southern France. AppliedGeography 8: 53-64.

Malanson, G.P. and Westman, W.E. 1985. Post-tiresuccession in Californian coastal sage scrub: the role ofcontinual basal sprouting. American Midland Naturalist113: 309-318.

Malanson, G.P. and Weslman, W.E. 1990. Modelinginteractive effects of climate change, air pollution, andfire on a California shrubland. Climatic Change, in press.

Manabc, S. and Wetherald, R.T. 1980. On the distribution ofclimatic change resulting from an increase in the CO,content of the atmosphere. Journal of AtmosphericSciences 37: 99- 118.


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Rothemrel, R.C. 1972. A mathematical model for predictingfire spread rate and intensity in wildland fuels. U.S.Forest Service Research Report TNT-I 15.

Schneider, S.H. 1991. Review of the climate scenario anddiscussion of current climate knowledge. In Peters, R.Land Lovejoy, T., eds. Consequences of the GreenhouseEffect for Biological Diversity. New Haven: YaleUniversity Press, in press.

van Tongeren, 0. and Prentice, I.C. 1986. A spatialsimulation model for vegetation dynamics. Vegetatio 65:163-173.

Van Wagener, C.E. 1987. Forest fire research - hindsight andforesight. In: Davis, J.B. and Martin, R.E., eds. WildlandFire 2000. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Forest Service, pp. 115-120.

Westman, W.E. and Malanson, G.P. 1991. Effects of climatechange on Mediterranean-type ecosystems in Californiaand Baja California. In Peters, R.L. and Lovejoy, T.,cds. Consequences of the Greenhouse Effect forBiological Diversity. New Haven: Yale University Press,in press.

Westman, W.E., O’Leary, J.F. and Malanson, G.P. 1981.The effects of fire intensity, aspect, and substrate onpostfire growth of Californian coastal sage scrub. InMargaris, N.S. and Mooney, H.A., eds. Components ofProductivity of Mediterranean Regions. The Hague: W.Junk, pp. 151-179.

Woodward, F.I. 199 1. Review of effects of climate onvegetation: ranges, competition, and composition. InPeters, R.L. and Lovejoy, T., eds. Consequences of theGreenhouse Effect for Biological Diversity. New Haven:Yale University Press, in press.


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Roger Suffling’

Abstract-A climatic gradient across Northwestern Ontario induces a spatial gradienl in tire incidence, withfew fires in the Northeastern part and many in the Southwestern part The resultant landscape mosaicsexhibit maximum landscape (beta) diversity with intermediate distnrbance frequency, as predicted by atheoretical model. This implies that the results of tire suppression on landscape-scale habitat diversity differqualitatively, depending on previous fire occurrence. Diversity is promoted by fire in tire-free areas, andsuppressed by fire where fim occnrs frequently. Fire occurrence has fluctuated wildly, however, overperiods shorter and longer than the life span of forest trees and, with anticipated anthropogcnic globalclimate warming, fire occurrence may depart from the norms of living memory. Thus the fntnre lightning-fire regime cannot necessarily be regarded as an unmodified feature of the natural environment. Becausetemporal variation in fire frequency makes estimation of a “natural” tire frequency almost meaningless,wildland fire management policies should not be aimed at maintaining vegsuttion in B stale that isreprescntativc of a particular historical time. Policy objeclives can be set, however, to retain a minimumarea of each ecosystem type, with the minimum defined by reference to historical variation.

INTRODUCTIONFire management by Europeans in North American forests hasproceeded through a number of philosophical phases: from nomanagement, to complcle 6~ suppression, to a mixed modelwith fire suppression in some area8 under some circ*mstancesand fire tolerance or fire sclting under others (e.g. Dub61977; Elrring 1989; Van Wagner 1990). Change in attitudehas been most dramatic in some designated wilderness areasin fire-prone regions where fire is no longer seen asdestructive and tends to be viewed as an integral componentof the natural environment (e.g. Woods and Day 1977;Houston 1973; Van Wagner and Mcthvcn 1980; Rommc andKnight 1983; Hcmstrom and Franklin 1983; Lopoukhinc1991). In such areas, lircs arc okn categorized as of naturalorigin and therefore to be lefi to bum if possible, or of hnmanorigin and thus to be supprcsscd (e.g. Anon 1975; Elfring1989; Sc.hullery 1989). Not everyone endorses this approach,

however, as the aftcnnath of the 1988 Yellowstone fires hasdemonslratcd (Bonnickscn 1989; Buck 1989). In overtlymodified landscapes, fire is usually suppressed, but is alsoused as a tool for deliberate modification of the landscape(c.g. Rcgo and others 1988; Amo and Grucll 1986), or forreduction of nnnatnral fuel accumulation (e.g. Wade andothers 1980; Pchl and others 1986; Birk and Bridges 1989).

There is a widespread belief that fire promotes what isvariously described as landscape diversity or heterogeneity inboth wilderness and overtly modified landscapes (e.g. Wright1974; Romme and Knight 1982; White 1987; Hannson 1979;

Forman and Godron 1986; Lou&s 1970 ; Agce and others1990). The Jirst part of this paper calls into question the

‘Associate Professor, School of Urban and Regional Planning,University of Walcrloo, Waterloo, On., Canada.

universality of this notion. It is hypothesized that fire,whether natural or otherwise, can promote landscapediversity, but can also suppress it in definable circ*mstances.

These ideas arc of more compelling concern in view ofanticipated global c l imate c h a n g e . Atmospheric carbondioxide concentration will probably reach double the pre-industrial revolution level in the next 50 to 100 years (Bolin1986), thus trapping more heat in the lower atmosphere.Various general circulation models suggest that a doubled CO,concentration wi l l increase global mean equilibrium surfacetemperature by 1.5 to 5.X in this period (Botin and others1986; Flavin 1989; Anon 1990).

Stud& by Van Wagner (1988) and Suffling (1990) confirmthe general belief the area of forest burnt in NorthernHemisphcrc regions is greater during warm summers. Thusclimate warming is of direct concern to fire managers, as thefire climate will probably deviate from that of living memory.The second part of the paper addresses possible firemanagement responses to climate warming and landscapediversity questions in wildland areas.

A MODEL OF LANDSCAPE DIVERSITYMany landscapes, including continental boreal forests, can bethought of as disturbance mosaics or, in more abstract terms,as populations of ecosystems. Heinselman (1973) introducedthis notion when hc r&fined fire as normal but infrequent intemperate forest landscapes. This led to the attractive notionof Temperate Zone wildland forested landscapes in which“Fire rotation controls the distribution of age classes of standsand the succession within stands. The resulting diversity mayrepresent long range stability, as implied by the

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Figure I --Stand age-class distributions for Northwest Ontario for four areas ranging from most fre prone (la) to least fire-prone (Id). The data for the 4 graphs are stand ages of main stands since disturbance recorded on 1: 15840 Ontario ForestryResource Inventory maps at the 8 locations shown on figure 2. Map titles indicate longitude and latitude (e.g. 516882 =51.6”N 88.2”W). A negative exponential curve (Van Wagner 1978) is fitted for figure la (?=O.Sl), but omitting the“barren and scattered” category which is an amalgam of recently regenerated stands and sparsely treed areas such as rockbarrens.


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palaeoccological record” (Wright 1974). This theory wasgiven quantitative form by Van Wagner (1978) who showed,for the same Minnesota Great Lakes mixed forest landscape,that the distribution of stand ages followed a negativeexponential curve (see figure la for an example of thisdistribution). The model applies if the chance of disturbanceof any stand is equal throughout its life and if the amount ofdisturbance remains substantially unaltered in the long term.Some subsequent investigations confirmed the model (Jaric1979; Harmon 1984), but other studies and data did notsupport it, or applied inconsistently (e.g. Hemstrom andFranklin 1982; S&fling 1983; Tande 1979; Antonovski andTer-Mikhaelian 1987). This is leading to increasing supportfor a shifting-state concept of forest landscape. These latterresults tend to demonstrate what palaeoecologists have longclaimed, that the area1 amount of disturbance fluctuateswidely over time, not only in the short term, but also overperiods as long as or longer than the life span of individualtrees (e.g. MacDonald and others 1991; Romme and Knight1982; Romme and Despain 1989). Figure 1 shows a typicalrange of age-class distributions encountered in NorthwestOntario, Canada, where change in fire occurrence over timedisrupts the negative exponential pattern, especially where theoverall fire return period is long, as in figure Id.

The disturbance mosaic can be used to calculate the landscapediversity, or beta diversity associated with differencesbetween stands in the mosaic (Suffling 1983). This diversityhas a richness component (essentially the number of kinds ofstand), and an evenness component expressing the relativeamount of different kinds of forest (Suffling and others 1988).The two measures are commonly combined in the Shannonequation (Shannon 1948).

Landscape diversity is a function of inherent differencesbetween sites based, for instance, on aspect or drainage. Italso depends on the forest age class distribution that has beencreated by disturbance. Simulation models of stand-agedistributions over time predict that landscapes withintermediate frequency of disturbance should have higherlandscape diversity than those with very frequent disturbanceand those that have almost no disturbance (Suffling and others1988). This is the case whether fire occurs equally in a)1 age

classes or is concentrated on older ones.

The continental boreal forest of Northwest Ontario (fig. 2)was used to test the model (Suffling and others 1988). Thishuge, more-or-less flat glacial peneplain, exhibits spatialclimatic variation that is little affcctcd by altitude, and its

95’ 85’



Figure ~--TIE location of the study area in Northwest Ontario


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geology is sufficiently uniform that climate variation begins toshow consistently across the landscape. The area ad.jaccnt tothe Hudson Bay Lowland is cooler and more humid than thatagainst the Manitoba border. The amount of fire reflects thisclimatic variation, grading from a high of over 1 percent ofland area burnt per year in the Southwest to almost no fire atall in the Northeast (Fig. 3). Most fires arc stand-replacingcrown fires, and the size of the disturbance patch created canvary from less than 1 to over 100,000 ha. There has, thus far,been very little logging in this area.

The fire gradient induces a clinc in vcgctation. Forests in thesouthwest arc generally young and are dominated by fire-adapted jack pine (Pinrrs hkrimm Lamb.) and aspen(Popuh lrelnrJoides Michx.). Those in the northwest arcgenerally much older and balsam fir (Abies balsarneo (L.)Mill.) and white spruce (Piceo glurtco (Mocnch) Voss) aremuch commoner there (figs. 1 and 4). In the center of theregion, a mixture of these forest types prevails (Suffling1988). Measurements of landscape diversity (fig. 5) confirmthe theoretical predictions that diversity will be highest in thecenter of the area, where frequency of disturbance isintermediate (Suffling and others 1988).

EFFECTS OF PRESCRJRED FJRE AN-D FIRESUPPRESSION ON LANDSCAPE DIVERSITYPredictions that the model generates, and the empiricalconfirmation of its applicability, justify several generalizationsconcerning fire management. In a landscape with littleprevious disturbance, prescribed burning will increaselandscape diversity by creating patches of immature habitat inthe primarily mature mosaic. Conversely, application of morefire in an already frequently burnt landscape will reduce thediversity of the landscape. In a landscape previouslyexperiencing intermediate disturbance that has producedmaximal landscape diversity, either tire suppression orincreased prescribed or natural fire will reduce thelandscape’s diversity.

Land managers are thus faced with a problem: Promotingmaximal landscape diversity is not necessarily synonymouswith keeping an area pristine. By managing for some primevalwilderness condition with a different tire occurrence from thepresent one, a manager might actually reduce landscapediversity. In reality, howcvcr, many wildland areas have formany years been managed under tire exclusion policies thathave climinnted or reduced both lightning tires and aboriginalburning patterns (Barrett and Amo 1982; Lewis 1977). andhave tended to result in a bell-shaped distribution of standage classes (Van Wagner and Methvcn 1980).


ale2 ’

- 0 . 5am0w-

n5 0 . 2 5-1




0 . 2 0




Figure 3--The gradient in fire occurrence across the study area in Northwest Ontario. (Aher Suffling and others 1988)


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!!?I Minor c o m m u n i t i e s

BPoplar/Jock pine

Es3Jack pine/Black spruce

Black spruce/Jack Pine

Slack spruca/‘Poplar/White birch


Figure 4--The change in community composition of forested upland sitesacross the study arca in Northwest Ontario.(Akr Suffling 1988).

Y * - 2 . 1 6 - 2 . 1 6 I n x - 0.34(lnx)*P C 0 . 0 2 5

r*- 0 . 8 3


0.025 0.05 0.075 0 . 1 0 .25 0 . 5 0.75 1 . 0 2 . 5

% L A N D A R E A B U R N T P E R Y E A R

Fig. S--The relationship of landscape diversity (Shannon’s H statistic) in the Northwest Ontariostudy area, to disturbance by forest fires (A&r Suflling and others 1988).

1 0 1

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FIRE MANAGEMENT IN AN ERA OFCLIMATE CHANGEThe policy of allowing natural fires to bum while suppressinghuman-caused tires (if they can be recognized as suchl) rettcson Q prcmisc that the cIimate that starts fires or encouragesthem to spread is an unmodified component of the naturalsystem. Now, however, there are predictions that climate willbe anthropogenically warmed. The amount of change isdcbatcd and the “control” situation without greenhousewarming is not clearly definable for several reasons: First,natural climatic fluctuation will certainly occur anyway.Second, we presently have much less reliable informationabout anthropogcnic change in precipitation than we do abouttemperature. Third, regional forecasts from the presentgeneration of general circulation models (GCM’s) are notthought to be very accurate, and good regional analogues ofGCM’s will be 3 to 5 years in the making. Fourth, there isthe possibility of deliberately ameliorating anthropogenicclimate change, but it is generally agreed that some warmingis now inevitable. The “predictions” are thus scenarios. Thosewho make them are under no illusion that they representanything other than options or a range of possible futures.

Given these complications, one can only be reasonably surethat there will be more fire in many forest regions than isnatural, so that a “let bum” policy will no longer promote anatural tire regime. There will be changes in the relativeamounts of different habitats, in landscape diversity, in thekinds and amounts of fire ecotone, and in the spatialrelationships and patch sizes of different habitats (Suffling andothers 1988; Turner 1989; Turner and others 1989).

The wildland tire manager’s first reaction might be to attemptto control fires to an extent that approximates the historicalpristine condition (e.g. Hawkes 1980), so as to preserve a“vignette of primitive America” (Leopold and others 1963).The development of landscape-based fire ecology models (e.g.Hcinselman 1973; Wright 1974; Van Wagner 1978; Johnsonand Van Wagner 1985; Parks and Alig 1988) gave muchtheoretical support to this philosophy. However, considerableresearch aimed at defining a pristine condition (either today’s,or an earlier era’s), has ofien demonstrated that there hasbeen considerable variation in fire occurrence even the lasthundred years (e.g. Romme and Despain 1982; Suf%ling1988). Thus, the objective of recreating the pristine has beenreinterpreted as not... Yrying to hold nature steady but rathermaintaining natural dynamics and discouraging anthropogenicdeterioration” (Ness 1987). Where one is able, however, toassemble a history that predates the end of the little ice age(1820- 1835 in many areas of North America), the variationbetween present and the fire past regimes is sufficientlyenormous to render unworkable even NOSS’ interpretation ofLeopold’s concept.

Fire records from Northwest Ontario demonstrate this clearly,Government records provide a history of tire only since 1926(fig. 6) and demonstrate a steady diminution of fire until the1940’s. Except in 1961, a disastrous fire year, very littleforest was burnt until 1974. Fire areas increased dramaticallythereafter in response to some of the warmest and driestsummers of this century.

Because of the fierce, stand-replacing nature of fires in thisregion, it is difficult to establish a reliable quantitative historyfrom fire scar information. Our attempts to establish aregional fire history from charcoal in lake sediments haveproved fruitless because varves are not formed in the area’soligotrophic lakes. Fortunately, however, historicalinformation from Hudson’s Bay Company fur trade journalsfor Osnaburgh House spans the period from 1786 to 19 11,and demonstrates a massive outbreak of forest fires in the1820’s, a relatively quiescent period from 1830 to 1860, andthen a steadily increasing tire incidence until the turn of thecentury. While much of this variation was climatically driven,we know that a large proportion of the recorded tires werestarted by people (SuMing and others in press), and that thisactivity was intimately bound up with economic, social, andattitudinal changes associated with the fur trade. Thisinformation on the temporal distribution of fires tallies wellwith the stand-age distributions for this area (fig. 1) that showmany present-day stands dating from between 1860 and about1900. (The data for figure 1 largely predate the post-1974 fireoutbreak, so this latter outbreak does not show on thesefigures).

If one wished to manage the fire regime of this NorthwestOntario area, what information base should be used to identifythe “natural” condition? The present high fire activity isanomalous if considered in the context of the period ofgovernment statistics from 1927 to the present, and wouldthus require suppression, but the current increase in fires isdriven by climatic variation rather than by some change inhuman-set fires. (We do not yet have the advantage ofhindsight, however, and cannot say whether the recent fireoutbreak is lust a major fluctuation, or represents thebeginning of anthropogenic climate warming). Conversely, ifone used the stand age distribution to establish a “natural”baseline, one would conclude that fire was virtually absentfrom the 1920’s but was common before that. If one used theHudson’s Bay Company record (which does not allow aquantitative determination of fire frequency), one could usethe low fire period at the end of the little ice age or the highfire period of the 1820’s (though there is a strong suspicionthat numerous large fires of the 1820’s resulted from bothclimatic influence and human activity). Alternatively, onecould pick any of the subsequent high or low fire eras.


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% 601 a5 0

FI 4 0RE 3 0

umerous unrecorded fires in 1820’sD 2 0AY 1 0S

01800 1820 1840 1860 1880 1900


1 9 3 0 1940 1 9 5 0 1960 1970 1980



Fig. 6- Historical variation in fire occurrence in Northwest Ontario. a: Fire occurrence as reprcscnted by “fire days”(Suffling 1988) a t O s n a b u r g h House. b: Ontario government statistics for area burnt in the Kenora District, 1927-1989(Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 1928-1990).

It is possible that the outbreaks of fire in Northwest Ontariofollow about a SO-year cycle, with high fire eras in the1820’s, 1870's, and 1980’s. There is little information for theearly 1920’s but oral tradition suggests that fires werefrequent at that time. Data from other regions support thepossibility that cyclical fire occurrence is commonplace at alandscape scale. Charcoal fragment counts in varvcd lakesediments in the boreal forest of Wood Buffalo National Parkin Canada’s Northwest Tcrritorics (MacDonald 1990 pcrs.

comm.) imply a 100 to 300 year cyclr: of fire in the landscapeover a 2OOJl year period. Similarly, the conifer forests of theYellowstone Plateau in Wyoming have experienced longquiescent periods punctuated by major cyclic fire outbreaksabout every 300 to 400 years, as in 1988 (Romme and Knight

1982; Rommc and Despain 1989). Current research on theeffects of spatial landscape patterns is beginning to explainthese temporal variations (Antonovski and Ter-Mikhaclian1987; Turner 1989).

In none of the cases noted above is there any indication thatthe major fire oulbrcaks arc merely extremely large events ina stochastic series. In each Case, fire occurrence appears tohave “flipped” bctwecn high nod low states without theappearance of 211 intermediate condition. Thus, adoption of anaverage lirc r e t u r n period would be arbih;uy, and would notmimic nature. Likcwisc, any attempt to “fix” the la&capeadopting a particular fire frequency from a high or low fireperiod will be unnatural.


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How can the fire manager resolve this dilemma? Oneapproach is to identify acceptable limits of variation in thedisturbance mosaic over time -an ecosystem supply strategy.For instance, if one decides that it is desirable to retain somemature stands of jack pine over 100 years old, tiremanagement policy can be tailored to protect such stands iftheir total area falls below a defined limit represented by acertain percentage of potential jack pine site area. Conversely,one might set prescribed bums in potential jack pine areas ifthe total area of jack pine under 20 years old were to fallbelow a defined limit. Acceptable limits could be set on thebasis of the historical representation of ecosystem types in thelandscape, on aesthetic or other cultural values, or on theneed to preserve certain ecosystem types for their valued floraor fauna.

CONCLUSIONFire managers should not assume, a that forest fires(or, for that matter, any other patch disturbance) willincrease landscape diversity, or that they will reduce it. Theeffect of fire on landscape diversity depends on the currentstatus of the landscape mosaic and, thus, on previousdisturbance. Because global climate warming will increaseforest fire occurrence in the boreal and other biomes,wildland fire managers should no longer assume that thelightning fire regime as non-anthropogenic. The timing andextent of increase in fire, as well as the “control” fire regimethat might occur without global climate warming arc currentlyunknown. One might wish to maintain the status quo inwildland areas in terms of proportions of different ecosystemtypes. However, these proportions shift constantly over time,even at the landscape scale, in response to natural climatevariation and the spatial pattern in the landscape (Antonovskiand Ter-Mikhaelian 1987; Turner 1989), which links toendogenous fuel processes. Thus, one must decide what fire isto create and what to protect from tire. This can meandetermining what minimum area of each ecosystem typeshould exist in the landscape. Such definitions can be basedon the status quo, on historical variation, or on culturallydefined values. Sadly, in an era of climate warming the ethicof leaving nature to continue without human interferencebecomes illusory.

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William F. Hansen’

Abstract-In November 1977, small erosion plots were installed on 30, 50 and 70 percent slopes followingforest management activities in southwest Oregon. Activities included clearcutting using a skyline yardingsystem, followed by burning to reduce logging debris and hardwood competition in 1976. Little of the soilwas exposed prior to burning because one end of the logs was suspended during the yarding operation. Theburning intensity was severe due to the high amounts of logging debris and the relatively dry conditionswith low fuel moistures. AAer burning, mineral soils were exposed on over 75 percent of the area.Rainfall measured 111 and 150 inches after 3 months and 12 months, respectively. Surface runoff anderosion leaving the plots were collected and measured. Some data loss occurred due to pipes plugging orcontainer overflow. During the first 3 months, surface runoff measured from the burned area varied from27.6 to 33.4 inches on 30 percent plots, 35.0 to 51.6 inches on SO percent plots and 43.9 to 44.3 inches on70 percent plots. The unburned 70 percent plots had water movement of 22.4 to 34.2 inches. Soil loss(<2mm) was 2.02 to 3.57 tons/acre on 30 percent plots, 2.18 to 5.89 tons/acre on SO percent plots and4.04 to 18.68 tons/acre on 70 percent slopes. Plots on 70 percent slopes within the clearcut area that werenot burned had erosion ranging from 1.26 to 3.09 tons/acre. Surface tunoff and erosion figures after oneyear are also presented. The magnitude of erosion was partly due to wind-driven rains near the PacificOcean and the highly erosive siltstone soils of the Dothan Formation. This study was heipfbl in changingattitudes about the effects of burning and requiring burning prescriptions that protect soils (e.g., by burningunder conditions with greater fuel and soil moistures or requiring more fuel removed during the yardingoperation), Visual indicators of surface erosion and methods for minimizing or mitigating the effects ofprescribed burning are also discussed.

INTRODUCTIONRelatively little information was available on surface erosionquantities following forest practices in southwest OrCgOfl

when this study was conducted on the Siskiyou NationalForest (SNF) in 1977 and 1978. During that time, the SNFwas a leader in developing and implementing technology toreduce environmental impacts from forest practices.Resource values and constraints were extremely high withsteep slopes covered with old growth Douglas-fir(Pseudotsuga menziesii) and beautiful streams with some ofthe most valuable salmon and steelhead habitat in the nation.

Prior to the study, the Siskiyou National Forest had identifiedmany sensitive environmental issues. In response to thecritical issues, forest practices were being carefnllyscmtinized t o reduce e n v i r o n m e n t a l impacts. Roadconstruction was a primary concern because of its potentialeffects to the soil, water and fishery resources. Access roadswere typically kept near ridges to avoid stream crossings andreduce surface and mass soil movement into streams. Sidecasting of soils during road construction was minimized oreven hauled away in very steep terrain. An aggressiveprogram to provide road surFace drainage a n d t o revcgctatethe bare soils adjacent to roads was also being implemented.Skyline yarding systems, which partially or totally suspend

‘Forest Hydrologist, National Forests in South Carolina and Georgia,Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Columbia, S.C.(formerly Forest Hydrologist on the Siskiyou National Forest inGrants Pass, Oregon).

logs on steep slopes or in streamside areas, were beingsuccessfully used to reduce the logging impacts associatedwi th conventional ground-based skidders on steep slopes.

Fire management practices were addressed after the majorcontributors to erosion and stream sedimentation had beenidentified and were being reduced. The effects ofpost-logging bums became a concern of watershed specialistsduring monitoring trips on the SNF. Observations causingconcern included loss of surface organic layer, exposure ofmineral soil, soil pedestals, fresh silt in streams, and turbidwater during storm events. Burning practices and attitudesabout burning would be difficult to change without someevidence to back up observations. The challenge to “proveit” or at least “measure it” was a necessary and reasonablerequest by the unconvinced majority.

T h e concerns about erosion following Prescribed burns wouldhave been reduced if erosion was not measured under severeconditions. The SNF was an ideal testing ground to measureerosion in the late 1970’s, and severe conditions followingprescribed bums were not hard to find. The usual objectivesof burning were to reduce heavy fuel loading from loggingdebris and to reduce competing vegetation with the nextgeneration of Douglas-fir seedlings. These objectives wereusually accomplished with hot burns, in the summer or earlyfall. Soil litter and the organic layer were often consumed


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To the untrained eye, overland flow and erosion were notproblems because the streams usually carry little sediment.Soil erosion and water quality changes occur rapidly inresponse to rainfall intensity and duration. These procasrerare not easy to measure. Small plots were chosen to collectsurface runoff and erosion realizing potential problems withvariability within an area and impact from the plot edge.Advantages included the low cost, ability to collect andmeasure all the soil and water leaving each plot and ease withwhich photos could be used to show plot and sampling details.

D‘ESCRI IVON OF THE STUDYLocationThe study was conducted on the Chetco Ranger District of theSNF in southwest Oregon, (specifically the north side of unit2 of the Hazel-Pistol timber sale, Township 38S, Range 13W,section 28, NE 114 of the SW 114, Willamctte Meridian).The study area is about 8 miles from the Pacific Ocean in thePistol River basin between Brookings and Gold Beach,Oregon. The aspect was generally southwest to southeast.

Background InformationFollowing clear-cutting using skyline yarding with one-end logsuspension, the unit was burned in the fall of 1976 to reducefuel residue and vegetation competition. Although notmeasured, over 7.5 percent of the mineral soils were exposed.Unusually dry conditions persisted until the fall of 1977 whenthe plots were installed.

The coastal landscape is typically deeply dissected by streamswith boulders, bedrock or debris, which prevent furtherchannel degradation (downcutting). Adjacent slopes oftenhave high potential for erosion or instability due to soilmaterials, high rainfall, steep slopes and loss of support fromchannel erosion. The soils are also extremely complex due tonumerous geologic changes. Average annual rainfall is over100 inches (2.5 m) for much of the National Forest. Dry, hotsummers with periodic lightning storms and burning by earlynatives and settlers have caused many past wildfires. In manycases, the litter layer and organic surface soils are shallow tonon-existent. High decomposition rates and erosion arecontributing factors. Such harsh site conditions presentrcvcgetation and regeneration problems, especially on thesouth-facing, skeletal (gravelly) soils. The study area selectedhas some of the most severe conditions on the SNF and inOregon.

Geology and SoilsThe bedrock of the study area consists of bedded layers ofmoderately hard s&stone, massive to slightly fracturedmudstone and sandstone rocks of the Dothan formation. Thesoils were derived from colluvial and residual material. Soilsof the area are primarily thin gravelly loams on slopes over40 percent and thick silt and clay loams on slopes under 40percent. Slopes in the unit are locally highly dissected andrange from 20 to 90 percent, The soils arc moderatelyunstable and highly erosive.

C l i m a t eThe temperature extremes of cold winters and hot summers insouthwest Oregon are moderated somewhat due to the closeproximity to the Pacific Ocean. Warm, moist air masses arecooled as they are pushed upward by the coastal mountains.At an elevation of 2600 feet and only 8 miles from the coast,the study area is subject to high wind speeds andprecipitation. Winds typically blow from the west tosouthwest with speeds occasionally exceeding 50 miles perhour. The average annual precipitation for the study area isestimated at over 125 inches and occurs primarily betweenNovember and May. Rainfall events are usually longduration with low to moderate intensity. Temperaturedifferences from the coast may be present when the coast isfogged in and the study area is clear. Winter freeze-thawcycles occur with few snow events.


Experimental DesignThe sampling methods were designed to test the effectivenessof grass seeding in reducing water movement and surfaceerosion on an area clearcut and broadcast burned. Theexperimental design was a 3 X 2 factorial analysis with onereplication, or 12 plots total. The factors varied were slopeand grass seed. Slopes used were 30, 50 and 70 percent andgrass seeding was either 0 or 7 pounds per acre.

Plot DesignThe plot boundaries consisted of 2 X 4 lumber with a 2 X 8for the upper boundary. Each plot was designed to be 112500of an acre (17.4 square feet) and the plot dimensions variedaccording to the slope. Each plot was drained into 6 inchfascia gutter scraps along the lower boundary. The gutterwith end caps was nailed to the wooden boundary with thegutter lip bent down about 112 inch. The wooden boundarywith gutter was eased into the correct position on the plot andstaked to the ground at several locations outside the plot. Thebent gutter lip was pressed into the soii. On the outside ofthe wooden boundary, a small ditch about 4 inches deep wasconstructed and filled with concrete to provide a good seal toprevent surface water from entering or leaving. Concrete wasalso placed by hand above the bent gutter inside the plot toprevent water from bypassing the gutter. A small trenchabove each plot diverted other runoff away from the plot.

Soil and Water MeasurementsSurface water from the plot drained into a 55 gallon drumusing 3/4 inch black plastic tubing. However, aftercontinuous clogging problems, 1 l/2 inch black plastic tubingwas installed. Plastic tubing fittings were used to go from thegutter into the 55 gallon drum lid, A 500 ml plastic bottlewas placed over the tubing outlet to collect the heaviersediment. The lighter sediment was collected in the drumwith the water from the plot. The water in the drum wasmeasured, mixed and sampled. The concentration in the


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sample multiplied by the volume in the drum gave the amountof sediment in the drum. Larger or heavier materials oRensettled out in the gutter. This material was collcctcd, oven-dried, sieved into soil ( < 2mm) or large. particles ( > Zmm),weighed separately and added to the estimated sediment fromthe drum. Large particles included rocks or pebbles,Douglas-fir cones, needles, leaves and other debris. Thecollection gutters were cleaned out in February 1978 andNovember 1978, respectively, approximately 3 months and 12months afier installation. Rainfall mcasurcmcnts were madeusing a Belfort recording raingage. Under $5,000 was spentto collect this information.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONSome adjustments in the data analysis had to be made due tounforeseen problems. The grass failed to germinate properlywithin the plots and only scattered depressions had anysuccess. Two plots were accidently located on an unburnedportion of the burned unit. Another plot flooded with waterand filled with sediment from an ephemeral microchannelwhich had not been diverted away from the plot. Lost datafrom plugged tubing and drum overflows from large stormevents posed additional problems. The statistical efticicncy ofthe factorial plot design was lost with these problems, but theinformation collected provided valuable insight to surfaceerosion and water movement atter typical forest practices ofthe time.

Information was intensively collected on the study plots fromNovember 11, 1977 to February 22, 1978 (104 days).

Fourteen separate rainfall events were identified during thisperiod, ranging from 1.1 to 18.4 inches. Rainfall totaled 11 1inches (2.8m) Average storm intensities were less than 0.25inches per hour, while peak Z&hour intensity reached 0.82inches per hour. During the first year, over 143 inches ofrainfall was measured and about 7 inches was estimated, for atotal of 150 inches (3.8m).

Figure 1 presents data to compare rainfall and runoff by plotslope and treatment for only those dates when collectors didnot plug or overtlow. There were a few discrepancies whenrunoff exceeded rainfall (the raingage opening was level whilethe plot openings were not) during individual storms.Whether the raingage caught less of the windblown rain, orthe plots caught more, is not known. The amount of overlandflow from the plots was alarming and provided strongevidence that surface erosion mechanisms existed. Thefollowing table presents the measured rainfall and runoffsummarized at two points in time over a year. Since thecollectors occasionally plugged or overflowed, estimates ofrunoff are low by approximately 10 percent for all treatments,except the 70B treatment data are 30 percent low.

Time Period Time Rainfall Average Plot Runoff (in) by Treatment( m o n t h s ) ( i n ) 308 SOB 709 7 o u

11/77-2178 3 4 1 1 1 3 0 . 7 4 1 . 8 4 4 . 1 2 8 . 311177-1 1178 12 IS0 5 7 . 8 7 1 . 5 6 3 . 8 4 8 . 8(30, 50, 70=% slopes, B=Bumcd, U=Unhumed, 1 in=2.54 cm)

Figure 2 presents the measured erosion by treatment for theone year. Due to collection problems, some data wasprobably lost. The amount lost is believed to be much lessthan the amount of runoff lost because the gutters wereeffe&e sediment traps when pipes clogged. The followingtable summarizes soil and total erosion after 3 months and oneyear.

Time Period Time Rainfall Total Erosion (tons/at) by Treatment(months) (in) 308 SOB 70B 7ou

1 l/17-2118 3 . 4 III IS(2.7) 4.6(5.8) 11.4(20.0) 2.20.8)11177-l 1178 12 150 3.8(4.3) 6.1,(9.1) 12.8Q2.2) 2.7(6.0)(same symbols as previous table, 1 ton/acre = 2240 kg/ha)

Poor record keeping after November 1978 made the datacollcctcd atier one year questionable. However, visualindications of continued surface water and erosion occurredbecause vegetative cover was slow to develop. In 1983,seven years after the bum, signs of accelerated erosion oflitter, mineral soil and rock fragments on the 70 percentunburned plots were disturbing.

Several types of erosion processes were observed on the area,including raindrop, sheet, and fill erosion. These weredetected or inferred by close observations during intenserainfall pe&ds or inspection during the study period on theerosion plots.

Raindrop erosion occurred when large amounts of kineticenergy were expended on the soil surface by fallingraindrops. In an undisturbed forest, vegetation and litterabsorb this energy. Soil particles exposed duringmanagement activities are susceptible to detachment by theraindrop impact. The wind driven rain supplies additionalvelocity and energy. Raindrop erosion may clog surfacepores thereby reducing infiltration. Soil pedestals formedunder the protection of pebbles or wood were anotherindicator of soil remaining in place when shielded fromraindrop impact.

Sheet erosion occurred as thin layers of surface materialswere gradually removed. This was noticed as a fine rootnetwork was eventually exposed on the 30 percent plots.Larger roots and gravel were also exposed on the steeper sitesas tines were removed. Soil delivery to the collection devicewas diffuse and defined water movement was difficult toobserve.

Rill erosion was apparent during one heavy rainfall event onplot 6 (70 percent bum slope). Microchannels no more thanan inch in cross section developed. Soil was being removedby running water of sufficient volume and velocity to generate


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'0 - w *I I I

0 8 74 81 101 116 1SS 144 167 ml 188 186






a m - - - RUNOFF 7oB

- 4- RUNOFF ‘7OU


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AND TREATMENT 11177 TO 11/78

8OB 6OB ‘?oB TOO

SLOPE Cperoent)


[--‘-IC O A R S E >8mm B - BURNED

@Z@B S O I L 4mm U = UN BURNED

130, 60, 70 - PERCENT SLOPE


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cutting power. As the soil particles eroded away, pebbles andsmall rocks could be seen and heard tumbling down the slopeas they were moved by water and gravity.

Other visual observations of erosion were made outside of theerosion plots, within the harvest unit. Examples of exposedroots could be found on all slope classes. Fine roots wereoften exposed on 30 percent slopes and larger roots weresometimes exposed on steeper areas. These roots were nottire scarred and were apparently buried at the time of theprescribed bum. Fire scars on trees were occasionally abovethe soil surface, indicating measurable soil erosion. Anincrease in surface rock content was noticeable on slopesexceeding 50 percent or more. Soil deposition occurred insurface depressions, above woody debris and in pool areaswithin the stream channels. Soil protected from the bumunder large woody debris or rocks had about l/2 to 1 inch oflitter and organic soil. Small rocks were suspended on soilpedestals. Streams would rapidly change in turbidity andsediment loads in response to rainfall intensity.

Part of the results include management’s reaction toinformation collected on the study area. This study was aneye opener to forest managers, who previously perceived thatsurface erosion and overland flow effects were negligiblefollowing prescribed burning. After some initial deliberationsand reactions to change, adjustments were made to strengthenthe prescribed burning program.

Prescribed burning plans were adjusted to protect the surfacesoil and organic layer, including its ability to take up andstore water. Burning is accomplished when the duff layer ismoist (usually a few days after a soaking rain in the spring).Directional falling of the old growth trees on steep slopesreduced breakage of logs, prevented high debris loads instreams and increased the tree utilization. Required yardingof unutilized material (YUM), is another method to reduce thelogging waste and fire intensity.

Burning specialists began to receive additional training inmeasuring weather, fuel moisture, fuel load, and flame heightvalues to reduce tire impacts to soil resources. Strategiessuch as helicopter lighting also reduced fire intensity.Monitoring post-burning conditions also help evaluate thebum. When areas are accidently burned too hot, grassseeding with fertilization helped mitigate burning effects. Thegrass species mixture can help provideimmediate cover needs with soil improvement and wildlifebenefits.

CONCLUSIONSThis study was undertaken to document the presence orabsence of surface runoff and erosion following typical&.arcut and prescribed burning practices in southwest Oregonduring the late 1970s. Severe conditions were chosen to lest

whether surface runoff and erosion were valid concerns. Theeffects of using grass seeding as possible mitigation was notpossible because much of the grass was apparently lost due toerosion. During the intensive l&&day study of the burnedarea, Ill inches of precipitation occurred, producing surfacerunoff in excess of 30 to 50 inches and soil erosion from 2 toover 18 tons/acre. In contrast, the steep unburned areasproduced substantially less runoff (20 to 30 inches) and soilerosion (1 to 3 tons/acre).

The results of this study convinced forest managers that someadjustments in prescribed burning practices were needed toprotect soil, water and tishery resources. Resetting burningobjectives to protect these resources was the first step.Methods designed at minimizing potential impacts to bothonsite resources, such as soil productivity, and offsiteresources such as downstream water quality, fishery habitatand air quality, were included in prescribed burning plans.Practices were implemented to reduce me1 loading throughgreater utilization and adjust burning intensity to protect soilresources.

Burning is a useful and necessary tool in forest management,but it can cause unacceptable adverse impacts if not properlyapplied. With adequate planning, timber harvest and burningpractices can be adjusted to achieve soil and water resourceobjectives, with good success at residue abatement andtemporary vegetation control. Soil, slope, climatic andhistoric land use factors should be assessed to help evaluatethe erosion potential of an area prior to burning. Whenburning under conditions with severe erosion potential cannotbe avoided, aggressive efforts to revegetate exposed mineralsoils are needed.

Despite the limited application of small plot studies, they arehelpful in this case to identify and measure site specificprocesses that arc difficult to measure on a large scale.However, several factors should be considered beforeapplying the results of this study to other conditions. Thepresence of abundant wind-blown rain, highly crodiblc soils,steep slopes and exposed mineral soil from a combination offorest logging and burning practices were all importantcontributing factors in the severity of the study results.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSForemost, I recognize and thank Malcolm Drake, HydrologicTechnician, for his valuable assistance and hard work in theinstallation and service of the plots. Other USDA-ForestService employees that I want to recognize include JohnMillet (retired), encouraged and supported this study; HarveyTimeus, Joe Waller, and Ed Gross, Chetco Ranger District,helped service the erosion plots; Roy Meyer and MikeAmaranthus, described the soils; Bob Ettner, encouragedreporting of these findings; Luis Mundo helped with thecomputer graphics and Lynda Hansen helped with typing andediting.


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Frank S. Gilliam’

Abstract-Past and prcsenl climate conditions have interacted with soil development to result in distinctly

oligotrophic (nutrient-poor) conditions in many southeastern U. S. Coastal Plain ecosystems. Fire

historically has been an important ahiotic component in these systems favoring the dominance of plantspecies which require fin: for successful regeneration and growth. This study examined the role of periodic

fire in several components of an oligotrophic lower Coastal Plain pine flatwoods ecosystem. Except for

some loss of nitrogen (N) from the forest floor, experimental bums had slight effects on nutrient loss fromthe system. Fires volalilizcd an average of 24 kilograms N per hectare. Much of this loss is halanscd byannual net (precipitation input minus stream flow output) ecosystem increases in N. Fire increased nutrientavailability in the soil, an increase which coincided with increases in the biomass and species diversity of

the hcrhaccous layer. Thus, fire is important in maintaining nutrient availability in these nutrient-poor

soils. Evidence presented in this study support the idea that pine flatwoods arc especially Iimited byphosphorus (P) and potassium gc) availability and that iire signiiicanlly increases available lcvcls of P andK in the soil. Fire is considered here a characteristic property of the ecosystem, one which integrates all

hierarchical lcvcls of organization of the system.

I N T R O D U C T I O NGeneral hypotheses concerning the importance or role of lirein ecosystems appear difficult to make, given the great varietyof ecosystem types wherein lirc occurs at a sufficientfrequency to bc considered a component of lhe system. It is areasonable hypothesis, howcvcr, that a predominant role of

fire, regardless of ecosystem type, is lo increase or maintainthe availability of an essential (usually growth-limiting)resource , either energy (sunlight), nutrients, or water. Thespecific role of fire would be dctcrmincd by which I’CSOUI’CC,or combination of rcsourccs, is limiting in a particularccosystcm. For example, in tallgrass prairie, which hasnutrient-rich soils, but experiences substantial build-up ofplant detritus which intercepts both light and water, fireappears to be important in maintaining availability of energyand water. but not nutrients.

The Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States has longbeen a region of great interest to fire ecologists, as cvidcncedby earlier reviews by Wells (1943) and Garrcn (1943), andmore rcccntly by Christensen (1981). This is a regionwhcr& past and present climatic factors have influenced soildcvclopmcnt in a way that resulted in oligotrophic (nutrient-poor) conditions (Gilliam 1990). Such conditions have, inturn, favored the dominance of plant species, such as pines,which require fire for successful reproduction and growth.These species, adapted to low soil fertility, product acidic,low-nutrient detritus, thus maintaining oligotrophic conditions,a scheme that represents co-development of biotic and abioticcomponents of the ccosystcm (Jenny 1980).

‘Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Marshall Univcrsi~y,

Hunt ington, WV

The main ohjcctivc of this study was to examine the effects oftire on several components of a pine flatwoods ecosystem ofthe lower Coastal Plain of South Carolina. These resultswere used to address the hypothesis that tire, as an integralpart of the system, serves a significant function in increasingnutrient availability. A second objective of this study is tolook at the specific role of tire at each hierarchical level oforganization of the system (ecosystem, community, a n dpopulation) to address the contention that fire is“incorporated” (sensu O’Ncill and others 1986) at the level ofrhc e c o s y s t e m .

In addition to the presentation of previously unpublished data,this paper provides a brief synthesis of several aspects of theSantee Watershed Study. These include studies on the effectsof fire on water quality (Richter and others 1982, 1984),precipitation chemistry (Richter and others 1983). soiln&en& (Gilliam and Richter 1985, 1988; Gilliam 1990), andeffects of fire on hcrbaceous layer vegetation (Gilliam andChr i s t ensen 1986; Gilliam 1988).


Study SiteThe study was carried out on Watershed 77 (WS77) of theSantee Experimental Forest. This forest is within the FrancisMarion National Forest in South Carolina, approximately 50kj]omctcrs north-northwest of Charleston (33”N, 80%‘).WS77 is 165 hectares in area and is typical of lower CoastalPlain pine flatwoods ecosystems. Topographic relief of thisand other first-order watersheds of the region varies by 5.5meters. Prior to the start of the study, WS77 had not beenburned for 40 years.


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WS77 soils are clayey, mixed, thermic, v&c Aquults of theBayboro, Bcthera, Carolina, and Wahee series. Althoughthese soils are of mixed mineralogies they arc gcncdyderived from old and highly-weathered secondary sedimentsof an alluvial origin and from montmorillonitic deposits of amarine origin. The soils tend to be extremely acidic,infertile, and low in weatherable minerals (Gilliam 1990).Each of the four series are described as very strongly acidicin reaction to at least 130 centimeters (Hatchcll andHenderson 1976).

Vegetation of WS77 is characteristic of Coastal Plain pineflatwoods. The dominant ovcrstory species were pines,loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.--75 percent of the overstorybasal area) and longleaf’ pine (P. palustris Miller--l7 percent).Other canopy species were sweetgum (Liauidambar stvracifluaL.--4 percent), black gum (Nvssa Svlvatica Marshall--3percent), and shortleaf pine (P. echinata Miller--Z percent).Dominant shrub spies included nearly equal mixtures ofwax myrtle (Myrica cerifera L.), gallbeny (Ilex alabra 6.)Gray), and lowbush blueberry (Vaccinum tenellum Aiton.).The herb layer was dominated by broom sedge (Androponon-virginicux L.), with switch cane (Arundinaria gigantea.(Walter) Muhl.) abundant along seeps and stream channels.

The climate for this region is classified as humid mesothermal(Trewartha 1954), with mild winters and warm, moistsummers. Mean monthly minimum temperatures for Januaryand July (extreme months) are 4 and 2O”C, respectively,whereas mean monthly maximum temperatures are 12 and32°C. Seasonal patterns of precipitation, stream flow, andcvapotranspiration for WS77 are shown in fig. 1.Precipitation averaged 135 centimeters annually, while streamflow averaged 35 centimeters annually. Precipitation typicallyexceeded evapotranspiration throughout the year (fig. 1).


Prec ip i ta t ion and Stream FlowNutrient inputs were estimated from weekly precipitationsampling and chemical analysis. Precipitation was sampledwith a network of nine bulk collectors and volume wasdetermined directly using a method described in Thicssen(1911).

Similarly, nutrient outputs were estimated from chemicalanalysis of weekly stream flow grab samples t&en behind thecalibrated weir at WS77. Weekly flow volume was calculatedfrom continuous stream height monitoring. Daily flowvolume was calculated from these readings by U. S. D. A.Forest Service Computations. All sampling (precipitation andstream flow) was carried out for 6 years.

---cl-- P p tS F

. . . . *... EvTs


Figure 1 .-Mean monthly fluxes of precipitation (Ppt), stream flow (SF), and evapotranspiration (EvTs) for WS77


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Fire EffectsWS77 was divided into 20 compartments of approximately 8hectares. Fires were administered as summer or winterprescribed fires, largely as backing tires. A total of nine firesadministered during this study. See Gilliam and Christensen(I 986) for a complete description of compartments and firetreatments. Briefly, nine compartments receiving eitherwinter-only fires, winter and summer fires, or no fire(control) were chosen randomly from the 20 compartments ofthe watershed.

Effects of tire were estimated from sampling (usually bothbefore and after the fire) within 10 IO-meter x lo-meter plotsin each compartment. Forest floor and mineral soil weresampled both before and after the bum. Forest floor wassampled with a 14.7-centimeter diameter litter cutter; mineralsoil was sampled with a 2.0-centimeter diameter soil corer toa depth of 20 centimeters and cores were divided into O-5centimeters, 5-10 centimeters, and lo-20 centimeters depths.Five subsamples taken randomly within each plot werecompositcd for each sample type.

Overstory and shrub layer vegetation were sampled once priorto burning. All stems > 0.6 centimeters diameter (at 1.5meter in height) within each plot were identified andmeasured, either for diameter (trees) or canopy cover(shrubs).

The hcrbaceous layer, defined as all vascular plants (1 meterin height, was sampled in five of the 10 plots in eachcompartment to determine 1) herb layer cover and biomass,2) species richness and diversity, and 3) nutrient content.Herb layer cover was estimated non-destructively in two 0.5meter x lo-meter transects in each of the live sample plots.The transects were subdivided to yield 10 I-square metersubplots. Per cent cover was estimated visually for eachspecies in all subplots. Biomass was estimated by harvestingthree separate SO-meter x 0.5meter transects. Thesetransects were subdivided into 7.5 O.Smeter x 2-metersubplots.

A separate design was used to determine nutrientconcentrations of herb layer vegetation in burned andunburned areas. Ten pairs of sample plots were established inthe topographic extremes of WS77, five in upslope areas andlive in lowland areas. One plot of each pair was burned andthe other was let? unburned. Herb layer vegetation wassampled by harvesting all above-ground parts within the twotransects as described previously. All herb sampling (coverestimates, biomass harvests, and nutrient analysis harvests)was car&l out in the summer.


Precipitation and Stream FlowPrecipitation and stream flow were analyzed for pH with aglass electrode. Metal cations (Na’, KC, Ca++, Mg’ ‘) weredetermined with atomic absorption spectrophotomctry (Isaacand Kerber 1971). Ammonium (NH4’) was determined byisocyanurate colorimctry (Reardon and others 1966), NOr. byCd reduction and azo-dye calorimetry (APHA 1976). PO,’ bymolybdenum blue calorimetry (Mehlich 1953), and SO,’ byturbidimetry (Schlesinger and others 1982).

Mineral SoilSamples of mineral soil were air-dried and ground in ahammer mill to pass a 2-millimeter screen. Measuredsamples of about 10 grams each were extracted with a dilutedouble-acid solution at a 1:5 soil/solution ratio according toMchlich (1953), a method established for acid, clay soils.Extractable elements were determined as described above.

Ilerb Layer VegetationHarvested herb layer material was oven-dried and ground in aWiley mill. Plant tissue was digested using a H$O,-HaO,method (Lowther 1980) and analyzed for Ca, Mg, K, N, andP as described above.

Data AnalysisFire effects on soil were tested using t-tests to compare pre-bum soil pH and nutrient cation concentrations and those ofpost-bum soils. T-tests were also used to test the effects offire on plant tissue nutrient concentrations by comparingburned and unburned means. In each case the level ofsignificance was p c 0.05. Linear regression analysis wasused to generate a model relating herb layer cover to biomassThe level of signiticance was p <O.Ol (Zar 1974).


Ecosystem-Level Effects of FireAlthough nutrient budgets arc somewhat incomplete in thisstudy, the components studied provide reasonable estimates oftotal nutrient flux. For example, soil surveys suggest minimaldeep seepage loss because of poorly drained throughout WS77(U.S.D.A. 1980). Denitrification should also be minimal,due to low NO; production in these extremely acidic soils.Finally, N fixation is probably low because of the lowfrequency of legumes in the forest (Gilliam and Christensen1986) and because non-symbiotic N fixers are generally rarein acidic forest soils (Alexander 1977). Thus, input/outputdata may be strongly indicative of the nutrient status of the


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Table 1. Inpltmwtplt buagets for cations in precipitation and stream flow for WS77. Datarepresent averages from 1976- 1982.

Input-Output H’ N a ’ K' Ca" NJ' '4 NO3 so,= Cl PO,"----------------*--------------*--------~e~,ha,yr---------------------------------

Precipitation 0.54 0.27 0.03 0.26 0.13 0.06 0.12 0.50 0.45 0.01

stream Flow 0.05 0.49 0.03 0.37 0.22 0.01 0.00 0.51 0.61 0.01

Net (1-O) +.49 -.22 0 -.ll - .09 +.05 +.12 -.01 -.I6 0

ecosystem. Table 1 shows precipitation and stream flow others 1982). The main loss of nutrients due to fire was annutrient budgets for the entire b-year pe$d of the study. average volatilization of 24 kilograms N per hectare from theHydrogen ion was greatly conserved by the system, with forest floor (Richter, and others 1984). Assuming a tire cycleprecipitation H+ inputs exceeding stream flow outputs by an of 5 to 7 years (Christensen 1981), however, this loss isorder of magnitude. Also conserved were NH4+ and NO;. balanced by annual accumulations of inorganic N (2.4Although such patterns are not conclusive, these data suggest kilograms per hectare per year--calculated from table 1) andthat N, commonly limiting in forest ecosystems, may be a organic N (approximately 2 kilograms per he&m per year--limiting nutrient in this forest. Richter 1980) from precipitation.

There were net annual outputs of Nat, Ca” +, Mg’ ‘, SO4=,and Cl- over the study period (table 1). Although many of thesoils of this region were derived from highly-weatheredsediments of an alluvial origin, net outputs of these ionsindicates that, for WS77, further weathering is taking placeand that these parent material sediments were largely of amarine origin.

None of the nine fires in the six years of the study had anysignificant effect on stream flow nutrient output (Richter and

Nutrient budgets were balanced for K and P (table l),suggesting strongly that K and P (in addition to N) may begrow&limiting in these soils. As discussed in Gilliam(1988), this contention is supported further by comparisons ofnutrient concentrations in herb layer vegetation from similarand contrasting ecosystems (table 2). Among these sites,including hardwood forests and other conifer forests, K, N,and P concentrations were typically lowest for herb layervegetation from WS77 (table 2).

Table 2. lIrsbaceous Layer Jlutrient. calcentrati- for various sites.

si tcdstlldy K Ca M9 N P-----------------------------%-----------------------------

Eastern Illinois bardwwds/Pet-m and Rolfe WSi!)

3.79 1.17 0.42 2.32 0.36

Northern barmvood forest/ 3.18 0.74 0.33 2.38 0.18Siccama. a n d Others (1970)

Northeast Mi-ta/Grigal and Ohmann (1980)

3.25 2.28 0.50 1.38 0.34

Central New York State/ 3.01 2.00 - - - - 1.93 0.21Bard (1949)

Boreal forest/Gagnon, and others (18.58)

0.51 0.81 0.24 . ..vw 0.19

Lower coaSta PLain/ 0.60 0.85 0.16 0.18cartes (1978)

Coastal Plain ftatwoods/ 0.84 0.77 0.20 1. 19 0.06Gilliam (1988)


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Nutrient Availability and UptakeThe effect of fire on extractable soil nutrients was minimaland varied with season of bum (table 3). Summer burnsseemed to have little influence on soil nutrients, except for asignificant decrease in extractable NH4 ‘, For winter burns,howcvcr, there were significant increases in pH andextractable K’ , Ca’ *, and NH,+. Although data forextractable P are not shown here, increases in extractable P inthese soils in response to Iire has been demonstrated (Gilliam1983). Therefore, there is an indication that tire mayincrease availability of limiting nutrients.

Gilliam and Christensen (1986) summarized the response ofherb layer cover and species richness of WS77 to fire. Theysampled nine randomly chosen compartments representing sixtire treatments, including winter- and summer-burnedcompartments and unburned control compartments. Theyfound that only (but not all) winter fires had appreciableeffects on the herb layer. Thus, it should be stressed that,depending on the ecosystem component being studied, fireeffects may be seasonal and highly variable. Furthermore,such variability itself can have great significance on the levelof the ecosystem (Christensen 1981). For the purpose ofcomparison, specific results ,for a particular winter fire will be.presented in this paper.

Tissue nutrient concentrations for herb layer vegetation weresignificantly (p < 0.05) higher in burned plots than unburnedplots for K, N, and P (fig. 2). There were no signiiicantdifferences for Ca and Mg. This pattern suggests that tiremay increase the availability of K, N, and P.

The relationship of herb layer cover and harvested biomassfor each species in the three harvest transects is shown in fig.3. This relationship yielded the equation

y = -0.03 t 1.81x (1)

where y is herb biomass in grams per square meter and x isherb cover in per cent. The correlation coefficient was 0.94and was significant at p <O.Ol. The relationship is based onmean values for individual species. Thus, given the highlysignificant correlation, equation (1) can be used to estimatebiomass for individual species in plots of the burned andunburned compartments. Biomass was summed for all speciesin each plot to yield total herb layer biomass per plot.

Average cover was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in thewinter bum plots compared to the control plots (37 percentvs. 16 percent, respectively; table 4). Using equation (1) foreach individual species in these plots, this differencetranslated to a greater than two-fold increase in herb layerabove-ground biomass (65 grams per square meter versus 28grams per square meter).

Table 3. T-test cam~arisons of Pm- vs. Post-bum soils at different depthsand seasons of bllmi~.

Sumner burn

De@/Treafnmt PH-IK Ca ’ -ng+ ( N H


o-5 au/PN?-blml 4.38 0. 7 12.2 5.5 1.1o-5 cm/Post-burn 4.35 0.7 11.0 5.4 o.l5*

5- 10 cu/Pre-burn 4.46 0.3 6.6 4.15- 10 tzlulbst- bum 4.48 0.3 6.4 4.0 E*

16-20 cm/Pre-burn 4.58 0.2 6. I 4.7IO- 20 cm/Post-bum 4.65 0.2 5.6 4.4 oO:t*

* indicates significant differeoce (pCO.05) betwear pm- and post-burn llpeans

Winter born

DepWTreatmmt PH K' c a " &I NH4---------------------*----------------------------

b5 cm/Pre-burn 4.16 4 . 25 *o-5 cm/Post- hum 4.2@

0 i.Y*7.3* 3.0

ii.;* 0

5- 10 --burn 44:E* 0.5 3.4 2.25- 10 c&Post- bum 0.5 3.2 1.9 o":i*

16-20 cm/PR?-blun 4.48 0.4 3.6 2.81 0 - 2 0 cmIP@st-~ 4.58 0.3 2.6 2.3

* imllcates significant difference (p<O.O5) behreen Pm- 4 Wt-- IUCS+BS


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Unburned '

0 Burned

Figure ‘L.-Nutrient concentrations of burned and unburned plot herb layer vcgctation. *Indicates significant diffctencebetween burned and unburned treatments at p < 0.05.


2 6-





0 I I I I I0 1 2 3 4 5

Cover (56)

Figure 3.-R&tionship of herb cover and harvested herb biomass for WS77. Each point represents average biomass andcover values for individual species. See text for equation.


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Table 4. Herbaceous Layer cover, biomass, species richness, Shannon-Weiner diversity, andnutrient content for burned and unburned plots of WS77. Error vatues are one standarderror of the mean.

Treatment C o v e r Biomass K Ca li P Richness(%I (g/d)

Mg Dlverslty------------kg/ha----------- (spp./ptot)

Control 16 2+2 7 28 3 4 7 I.9 2.2 0.5 3.1 0.2* - - a + . 1.95 0 15+ * . + .

Winter bum 36.723.7 65.1k6.3 6 . 8 5.0 1.3 8.3 0.5 2.50+0.10 29.521.9

H&I layer nutrient content was approximated by applying theappropriate nutrient concentration data from fig. 2 tounburned and burned herb layer biomass means in table 4;i.e., “burned” K, N, and P values from fig. 2 wcrc used with“winter bum” biomass from table 4 and “unburned” values infig. 2 were used with “control” biomass. Since fire did notsignificantly influence Ca and Mg concentrations, overallmean values from fig. 2 for these nutrients were used withmean biomass values from table 4.

Not surprisingly, using this method, increases in herb layernutrient content were especially pronounced for K, N, and P.These increases were >3.5-fold, 2.7~fold, and >2.5-fold forK, N, and P, respectiveIy (table 4).

It merits repeating that these degrees of differences, whetherfor herb cover, biomass, or nutrient content, are notindicative of aI1 fires in this ecosystem, since some fires(especially summer tires) had no appreciable influence on theherb layer. These data, thcrcfor, provide a meaningfulcomparison representative of the potential effects of fire inthis system.

Community-Level Effects of FireAlthough the major emphasis of much of this work has beenon ecosystem-level effects of fire, the hcrbaceous layer is alsouseful in assessing the effects of Iirc on the level of the plantcommunity, especially with respect to effects on species

diversity and composition. Herb layer species diversity wasmeasured for each plot in winter bum and controlcompartments as the Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index (H),using the equation

where pi is the decimal fraction of individuals of the ithspecies and a is the total number of species.

Fire significantly increased species diversity of the herb layerfor this particular winter bum (table 4), a response typical forother winter tires of WS77 (Cilliam and Christensen 1986).The value of H reflects both numbers of species present aswell as their relative importance, measured here as relativecover. Thus, much of the increase in the diversity index wasfrom a significant increase in species richness, from 17species per plot in control compartments to 30 species perplot in winter bum compartments (table 4).

In addition ‘to increasing the numbers of species in burnedplots, fire altered species composition as well (table 5). Grassspccics in particular increased in importance in burned areas.Indeed, for the species listed in table 5, tire did not so muchalter which species were important as it altcrcd species cover,on both an absolute and a relative basis.

Table 5. Important species for the herbaceous layer in burned andunburned plots of WS77. Nomenclature follows Radford, and others (1968).

Control Wmter burnSpecies Relative Relative

C o v e rSpecies

Cover(Xl (%I

Lonicera ianonica 16.3 Andropogon vngmicus 21.4Andropogon virginicus 15.2 Ltqutdambar styractttuaJ iex etabra 12.1 Vaccinum tene r‘?;Vaccinum sene I L m 8.8 Vitistundifolia 5:8Mvricaerifera 7.6 Vaccinium elliottiiLiquidambarstyraciflua Rubus betulifottus 24

Em2: ltex qlabra 4.0

Mvrica cerifera 3.2Mitchella renens it.:

2:1Festuca elatior

Vitis . .randI folly lonicerajaponica-


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Population-Level Effects of FireFire will affect populations of plant species differentially,depending on the species’ life history characteristics andresource requirements. Many species in southeastern CoastalPlain ecosystem not only respond positively to relatively highfire frequencies, but actually are dependent on fire forsuccessful reproduction and growth. A well-documentedexample of such a fire-dependent species is longleaf pine.There are excellent accounts of the relationship between fireand lor&af pine, the most recent of which focuses on theimportance of fire in several aspects of its populationdynamics (Platt and others 1988).

Woody species data for WS77 provides an example of theeffects of long-term fire exclusion on lon&af pine, sinceWS77 had not been burned for approximately 40 year prior tothe initiation of the study. Figure 4 is a size class frequencydistribution comparing longleaf pine to loblolly pine, which isa much less tire-dependent species. The distribution patternfor loblolly pine is typical of a successfully regeneratingspecies, with high frequencies of small stems and attenuatingnumbers toward larger size classes. In contrast, the patternfor longleaf pine (e.g., extremely low frequencies of smallstems) is indicative of greatly suppressed regeneration. Thus,long-term fire exclusion and greatly reduced fire frequenciescause sharp declines in lon&af pine populations.

ConclusionsThis Coastal Plain pine flatwoods ecosystem is distinctlyoligotrophic and fire, as an integral part of the system, servesa significant role in increasing nutrient availability. It is thusnotable that P and K typically increase in availability afterfire.

The importance of fire on the plant community level wasevident in its effects on the herbaceous layer. Although theseeffects were variable (especially varying with season of bum),fire can cause substantial increases in species diversity,apparently by altering microenvironments and ultimatelyincreasing resource availability.

Fire also plays a vital role in the life history and populationdynamics of several plant species in pine flatwoods systems.Data presented here demonstrate the importance of fire inmaintaining successful regeneration of the canopy co-dominant species, longleaf pine.

Thus, tire effects appear to be integrated across allhierarchical levels of organization, from the population to thecommunity to the ecosystem. Fire serves significant functionsthat are both required and unique at each level.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis research was supported by cooperative grants from theSoutheastern Forest Experiment Station, U. S. D. A. ForestService, and Duke University. The author thanks ForestService scientists at the Charleston, S.C., Forest Sciences Laband technicians at the Santce Experimental Forest forcooperation and logistical support. The author also thanks thenumerous graduate students at Duke Univeristy who alsoassisted in the project.

Size Class (cm)

Figure 4.-Size-class distributions for loblolly pine (P. taeda) and longleaf pine (P. palustris) for WS77.


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LITERATURE CITEDAlexander, M. 1977. Introduction to soil microbiology, 2nd

ed. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

American Public Health Association. 1976. Standard methodsfor the examination of water and wastewater. 14th ed.American Public Health Association, New York.

Bard, G.E. 1949. The mineral nutrient content of the annualparts of herbaceous species growing on three New Yorksoils varying in limestone content. Ecology 30:384-389.

Christensen, N.L. 1981. Fire regimes in southeasternecosystems. pp. 112-136. In: Mooney, H.A., Bonnicksen,T.M., Christensen, N.L., Lotan, J.E., and Reiners,W.A., eds.Fire regimes and ecosystem properties. ForestService General Technical Report WO-26.

Gagnon, D., LaFond, A., and Amiot, L.P. 1958. Mineralcontent of some forest plant leaves and of the humus layeras related to site quality. Canadian Journal of Botany36~209-220.

Garren, K.H. 1943. Effects of lire on vegetation of thesoutheastern United States. The Botanical Review 9:617-654 .

Garten, C.T. 1978. Multivariate perspectives on the ecologyof plant mineral element composition. The AmericanNaturalist 112:533-544.

Gilliam, F.S. 1983. Effects of Iire on components of nutrientdynamics in a lower Coastal Plain flatwoods ecosystem.Ph.D. thesis. Duke University, Durham, N.C.

Gilliam, F.S. 1988. Interactions of Iire with nutrients in theherbaceous layer of a nutrient-poor Coastal Plain forest.Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 115:265-271.

Gilliam, F.S. 1990. Ecosystem-level signilicance of acidforest soils. in press. In: Wright, R.J., Baligar, V.C.,and Mumnann, P., eds. Utilization of acidic soils forcrop production. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht,The Netherlands.

Gilliam, F.S. and Christensen, N.L. 1986. Herb-layerresponse to burning in pine flatwoods of the lower CoastalPlain of South Carolina. Bulletin of the Torrey BotanicalClub 113:42-45.

Giiliam, F.S. and Richter, D.D. 1985. Increases inextractable ions in infertile Aquults caused by samplepreparation. Soil Science Society of America Journal49:1576-1578.

Gilliam, F.S. and Richter, D.D. 1988. Correlations betweenextractable Na, K, Mg, Ca, P and N from fresh and driedsamples of two Aquults. Journal of Soil Science 39:209-

Grigal, D.F. and Ohmann, L.F. 1980. Seasonal changes innutrient concentrations in forest herbs. Bulletin of theTorrey Botanical Club 107:47-50.

Hatchell, G.E. and Henderson, J.E. 1976. Moisturecharacteristics of some Coastal Plain soils on the FrancisMarion National Forest. U. S. D. A. Forest ServicePaper SE-150.

Isaac, R.A. and Kerber, J.D. 1971. Atomic absorption andflame photometry: Techniques and uses in soils, plant,and water analysis. pp. 17-37. In: Walsh, L.M., ed.Instrumental methods for analysis of soils and plant tissue.Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI.

Jenny, H. 1980. The soil resource. Springer-Verlag, NewYork.

Lowther, J.R. 1980. Use of a single sulphuric acid-hydrogenperoxide digest for the analysis of Pinus radiata needles.Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis11:175-188.

Mehlich, A. 1953. Determination of P, Ca, Mg, K, Na, andNH,. North Carolina Soil Test Division Mimeograph,Raleigh.

Peterson, D.L. and Rolfe, G.L. 1982. Nutrient dynamics ofherbaceous vegetation in upland and floodplain forestcommunities. The American Midland Naturalist 107;325-339 .

Platt, W.J., Evans, G.W., and Rathbun, S.L. 1988. Thepopulation dynamics of a long-lived conifer (Pinuspalustris). The American Naturalist 131:491-525.

Radford, A.E., Ahles, H.E., and Bell, C.R. 1968. Manual ofthe vascular flora of the Carolinas. The University ofNorth Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.

Reardon, J., Foreman, J.A., and Searcy, R.L. 1966. Newreactants for the calorimetric determination of ammonia.Clinica and Chemica Acta 14:403-405.

Richter, D.D. 1980. Prescribed fire: effects on water qualityand forest nutrient cycling in forested watersheds of theSantee Experimental Forest in South Carolina. Ph.D.thesis. Duke University, Durham, N.C.


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Richter, D.D., Ralston, C.W., Harms, W.R., and Gilliam,F.S. 1984. Effects of prescribed fire on water quality atthe Santee Experimental Watersheds in South Carolina.pp. 29-39. In: Water quality and environmental issues onsouthern forest lands. Proceedings 1984 SouthernRegional Meeting of the National Council of the PaperIndustry for Air and Stream Improvement. Atlanta, GA.

Richter, D.D., Ralston, C.W., and Harms, W.R. 1982Prescribed tire: effects on water quality and forestnutrient cycling. Science 215:661-663.

Richter, D.D., Ralston, C.W., and Harms, W.R. 1983Chemical composition and spatial variation of bulkprecipitation at a Coastal Plain watershed in SouthCarolina. Water Resources Research 19: 134-140.

Schlesinger, W.H., Gray, J.T., and Gilliam, F.S. 1982.Atmospheric deposition processes and their importance assources of nutrients in a chaparral ecosystem of southernCalifornia. Water Resources Research 18:623-629.

Siccama, T.G., Bormann, F.H., and Likens, G.E. 1970. TheHubbard Brook Ecosystem Study: productivity, nutrients,and phytosociology of the herbaceous layer. EcologicalMonographs 40:389-402.

Thiessen, A.H. 1911. Precipitation for large areas. MonthlyWeather Review 39:1082-1089.

Trewartha, G.T. 1954. Introduction to climate. McGraw-Hill,New York.

U. S. D. A. 1980. Soil survey of Berkely County, SouthCarolina. NationaI Cooperative Soil Survey, Washington,D.C.

Wells, B.W. 1942. Ecological problems of the southeasternUnited States Coastal Plain. The Botanical Review 8:553-561 .

Zar, J.H. 1974. Biostatistical analysis. Prentice Hall,Englewood Cliffs, N.J.


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Carole Coe Klopatek, Carl Frieze, Michael F. Allen,Leonard F. DeBsnn and Jeffrey M. Klopntek’

Abstract-overall effats of fire on forest ecosystems are complex, ranging from reduction of abovegroundbiomass to impacts on soil microbial processes. This study reports on the short-term ecological effects of Bhigh intensity fire on the vesicular-arbuscular (VA) mycorrhizae dishibution, densily and diversity inpinyon-juniper woodlands. In fall of 1989, I hectare of mature pinyon-juniper located near the GrandCanyon, Arizona, was intentionally burned using drip torches. Soil cores were taken from interspaces andbeneath canopies of pinyon and juniper during the spring of 1989 and immediately prior to and 96 hoursafter burning the following fall. In the spring, there were IM differences in VA mycorrhizaI speciesrichness under pinyon, juniper or interspaces. Glomus fasciculahun and C. aareg&m.were the two mostfrequently observed species. Immediately before the bum, species richness was slightly lower than inspring for each of the three cover types. Following burning, & fasciculahun, G. deserticola. and G.macrocarpum were the only remaining species in each of the three cover types. Seasonal differences% soilspore densities were found between spring and pre-burned conditions. Spore numbers were significantlylower in interspaces than under canopies. Post-bum spore numbers were significantly reduced under treecanopies (up to X8 percent loss) as compared with the interspaces (47 percent loss). Loss of mycorrhiiewas negatively correlated with soil temperature and heating duration, which varied with the amount of litterand dufT burned (under tree canopies) and suhcanopy position.

INTRODUCTIONThe importance of mycorrhizae in ecosystem function is welldocumented (Allen 1988; Masse 1973; Menge and others1978; Safir and others 1987). Without mycorrhizac many

plants show a decreased growth rate or fail to develop beyondgermination and Smith 1983; Masse 1973; Powelland Bagyaraj 1984). Sludies have shown that this symbiosisis fragile, and that mycorrhizal activity decreases withincreasing levels of disturbance (DaR and Nicholson 1974;Habte 1989; Janos 1980; Jasper and others 1989; Klopatckand others 1988; Warner 1983; Williams and Allen 1984).For example, the frequency of vesicular-arbuscula (VA)mycorrhizal propagules decreases from a m o d e r a t edisturbance such as livestock grazing (Bcthlcnfalvy andDakcssian 1984a; Rcece and Bonham 1978) to a severedisturbance such as surface mining (Allen and Allen 1980;Gould and Liberta 1981; Zac and Parkinson 1982).

Klopatck and others (1979) estimated that the pinyon-juniperassociation is the third most expansive vegetation type in theUnited States. It COVCI’S approximately 32.5 million hectares

‘Microbial Biologist, USDA Forasl Service, Rocky Mountain Forestand Range Expcximcnt Station, Forestry Sciences Lab., Arizonia StateUniversity Campus, Tempe, AZ and Department of Microbiology,Arizona State University. Tempe, AZ; Research Assistant andProfessor, respectively, Systems Ecology Research Group, San DiegoState University, San Diego, CA; Supervisory Soil Scientist, USDAForest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range ExperimentStation, Forestry Sciences Lab., Arizonia State University Campus,Tempe, AZ; Associate Professor of Botany, Arizona State University,T e m p e , A Z .

in the western U.S. and 5.75 million hectares in Arizona(Arnold and others 1964). Pinyon-juniper woodlands arelocated between arid and semiarid mesic ecosystems. On thexcric end of the scale, juniper trees and desert shrubs coexist,while pinyon and ponderosa pine coexist on more me.& sites.Intermediate between these limits both pinyon pine andspecies of juniper exist together with interspace areasoccupied by shrubs, grasses and other herbaceous cover.Why these trees exist in such diverse environments may bedue to their mycorrhizal association. For example, it isknown that many arid land shrub species are VA mycorrhizal,as are juniper bees, while all pine species arecctomycorrhizal.

Pinyon-juniper woodlands are managed for multiple use. Asa result, both grazing (over 100 years West 1984) andprescribed burning (over 75 years USDA Forest Service) areperturbations that have occurred simultaneously in thesewoodlands for many years. Natural and prescribed firesimpact the spatial mosaic patchwork of both VA mycorrhizaeti~pm> interspace grass and shrub) (Klopatck and others1988) and ectomycorrhizac in forest ecosystems (pine, spruce,and fir) (Mikola and others 1964; Schoenbcrger and Perry1982). Until recently, little was known about the response of

VA mycorrhizal symbionts to fire. Klopatck and others(1988) showed that atier a simulated fire, VA mycorrhizalcolonization was reduced when burning temperaturesexceeded 90” C. Soil water availability at the time of burningalso played an important role in VA mycorrhiil survival,with dry soils being more of a detriment than wet soilsbecause of higher resultant temperatures. Gibson and Hctrick

1 2 3

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(1988) found significant reductions of three VA mycorrhizalspecies following a tire in the tall grass prairie of Kansas.Dhillion and others (1988) stated that colonization levels ofVA mycorrhizal fungi in little bluestem roots weresignificantly reduced on burned sites when compared tounburned but, increased significantly afier one growingseason. Their results suggest that the response of VAmycorrhizal fungi to fire may be attributed to changes in thehost plant rather than the direct effect of fire. Firetemperatures did not reach a level high enough to kill all theplants, thereby leaving a large residual VA mycorrhizal poolin the soil and in plant roots. In fact, they showed that fireactually stimulated plant ‘growth, unlike tires in pinyon-juniper woodlands.

In previous work, we determined that fire had a negativeimpact on VA mycorrhizae by decreasing the number ofpropagules. We wanted to determine if these results wererepresentative under field conditions. Thus, the objective ofthis study was to determine how fire effects VA mycorrhizaedensity, diversity and distribution under field conditions in thepinyon-juniper ecosystem. Results on the effects of tire onectomycorrhizae arc forthcoming.


Site DescriptionThe study area is located on the Coconino Plateau of theColorado Plateau, adjacent to the Grand Canyon NationalPark on the Kaibab National Forest. Site elevations rangefrom 1875 to 2075 meters. Soils are Lithic and FluventicUstochrepts having a sandy loam texture and belong to theWinona-Boysag association (Hendricks 1985). Kaibablimestone, with intrusions of Moenkopi sandstone, are thedominant parent materials; slope is minimal, ranging from O-2percent. The seasonal regime of cold, wet winters and hotsummers with occasional thunderstorms in this region, resultsin this being the evolutionary center for pinyon-juniperdevelopment (Nielson 1987). Annual precipitation of 350millimeters is bimodally distributed, approximately halfoccurs as intense thunderstorms from July to September, withthe remainder coming as mild winter rains or snows fromDecember to April. Soil moisture deficits exist from Marchthrough October. Temperatures are variable, ranging from -27 to +38” C with an average of 150 days between last andfirst frost. Permanent weather recording stations are locatedin Tusayan, Arizona, less than 20 kilometers from the studyarea.

The area is dominated by pinyon pine w edulis Engclm.)and Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma (Torr.) Little).Several species of grass [blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis(H.B.K.) Lag. ex Steud.), squirrel tail (Sitanion Jlystrix(Nutt.) J.G. Smith), s sp.] and shrub species [snakeweed(Guttierrezia sarothrae (Pursh) Britt and Rusby), rabbitbrush(Chrvthothamnus sp.), cliffrose (Cowania mcxicana var.stansburiana (Torr.) Jepson)] dominate the interspaces.

Experimental DesignFrom the area described above, we chose approximately 1hectare of mature pinyon-juniper (250 plus years old) as ourstudy site. The site was divided into quadrants (4 subplots) inwhich the position and number of each pinyon, juniper, andinterspace was mapped. Every tree was marked with brasstags bearing ID numbers. The site was fenced to excludelivestock grazing. On September 11, 1989, we burned thesite using hand-held drip torches. All living, downed, anddead fuels were ignited. Burning was conducted by theKaibab National Forest, Tusayan Ranger District withassistance of the National Park Service, Grand Canyon.

Soil samples were evaluated for VA mycorrhizal spores in thespring of 1989 and immediately before and 96 hours after theSeptember bum. Spring samples were taken to assessseasonal variability. During each sampling period, soil coreswere taken from the same three randomly selected pinyon andjuniper and interspaces in each of the four quadrants. Soilcores were t&en 96 hours a&r the burn (post-bum) becausetrees were still burning and smoldering. Soil cores weretaken from the base of the tree, mid canopy and at the canopyedge to a depth of 10 centimeters. This yielded 18 cores perquadrant, totaling 72 tree cores (2 tree species X 3 trees perquadrant X 3 samples per tree X 4 quadrants = 72). Fouradditional soil cores were taken per quadrant frominterspaces, for a total of 16 interspace samples. Cores werewrapped in polyurethane and refrigerated at 4” C untilprocessed.

In the laboratory, each sample was sieved (2 millimeters) toremove rocks and allowed to air-dry. From this, 20-gramsamples were taken to estimate spore numbers usingdifferential centrifugation (lanson and Allen 1986). Sporeswere placed in a petri dish with sterile distilled water andexamined under a dissecting microscope at 40X. Spores weredivided into live and dead. Viability was determined byplacing spores on a microscope slide, those which exudedcytoplasm when crushed were considered viable. Speciesidentification were determined with a compound microscopeat 400-1000X. Spore numbers are reported as means with +standard errors of the mean. Significant differences (p< 0.05) in spore numbers were isolated using Tukcy’s honestsignificant difference measure. Percent loss of mycorrhizaewas calculated by subtracting the difference between pre- andpost-bum spore numbers and dividing it by the pre-bum sporenumber.


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RESULTS ANDDISCUSSIONSpecies RichnessEight species of VA mycorrhizal fungi were recovered fromthe site (table 1). In spring (May 1989), there were nodifferences in species richness under pinyon, juniper, orinterspaces (fig. I). m fasciculatum and G. aggrc~atumwere the two most frequently observed specics;ith cmacrocarpum being the least dominant. Pinyon pine,although ectomycorrhizai, has been reported to havenumerous VA mycorrhizal propagules around its base(Klopatek and Klopatek 1986). This is likely due to: 1)aeolian deposition of spores, and 2) the intermixing of juniperroots with those of pinyon. Wind deposits sand particlesunder pinyon pine (Barth 1980; Klopatek 1987) andpresumably deposits these large spores along with the sand.In addition, on a recent excavation, we found juniper rootsintertwined with pine roofs (Klopatek and Klopatek,unpublished). Thus, pinyon is an important repository forVA mycorrhizal propagules. This is in contrast to other pinedominated forests where no VA mycorrhizal spores are found(Kovacic and others 1984).

TabIe I.--List of species from soi Is taken from underpin on

fyand juniper canopies and interspaces. No

diferences in species were found in either of the threecover types. Species are Listed in the order of relativeabundance.

Gtomus macrocarpum Tut & TutG. occuttum (Walker)G. mosseae (Nicot & Gerd) Gerd. g Trap


Scutettospora calospora (Nicol. & Ger .) Ualker & SandersG. deserticuta Trappe, Bless & MengeG. a gregatun Schenck & SmithG. fgascicutatum (Taxter sensu Gerd.) Gerd. & TrappeAcaulospora laevis Gerd. & Trappe

Species richness varied with season. Immcdiatcly before thefall burn, species richness dropped in each of the three covertypes (fig. 1) compared with spring. Species richness wasgreatest in interspaces covered with grass, followed by pineand juniper soils, respectively. In post-burn samples, nodifferences in richness were found among the three covertypes; but, species richness declined in all post-bum samples(fig, 1). G. fasiculatum, & desetticula, and & macrocarpum-were the only species that survived the fire. These speciesarc all thick walled as compared with the other five (table I).In addition, they are commonly found in very arid, alkalinesoils (Bethlenfalvay and others 1984; El-Giahmi and others1976; Pfeiffer and Bless 1980; Safir 1987) and, therefore,may be more resistant to extreme temperatures.

P i nyon

I Pre-Burn El Post-Burn

--_.._unlper Interspace

Figure 1 .--Change in the number of VA mycorrhizal speciesin soils taken from beneath pinyon and juniper and interspacesdue to change in season and effect of lire

Spore Densit iesSpore density varied under pinyon, juniper, and interspacesduring the spring and pre-bum samplings (fig. 2). Overallspore counts under pinyon were not significantly higher in thespring than in pre-bum samples. Significant differencesexisted (p < 0.05) between spring and pre-bum samples injuniper and interspace soils (fig. 2). This decrease betweenspring and pre-bum samples may be attributed to a largeamount of germination and hyphal activity rather than sporeproduction following the summer rains. There were statisticaldifferences @ < 0.05) in spore numbers between juniper andpinyon soils in the spring sampling, and most samples weresignificantly greater 0, < 0.05) than interspaces (fig. 2). Ingeneral, the pre-bum pattern of spore dispersal exhibited thehighest proportion at the base of the trees and decreasedoutward.

Burning significantly (p = < 0.05) decrease the overallnumber of VA mycorrhizal spores in soils beneath pinyonand juniper canopies (up to 88 percent) and interspaces (up to47 percent loss) (fig. 2). Following the burn, spore numbersunder canopies ranged from a high of sixteen to a low of fourper 20 grams of soil. There did not seem to be a pattern ofspore distribution and subcanopy position. The substantiallosses under canopies was probably due to the direct effects ofthe soil temperatures. The highest soil temperatures werereached under canopies (up to 315” C at 2 centimeter depth)compared with interspaces (up to 68” C at 2 centimeterdepth). The large fuel load, including aboveground material,litter, and duff, in addition to a more complete combustion ofthese fuels, probably contributed to a more intense bum underthe canopies. Smoldering duff and tree stumps maintainedhigh temperatures for several days. Magnitude and duration


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P i nyon

Cl Spring

I Pre-Burni3 Post-Burn

Base MidLcnopy Pos i t on

E d g e



0 SpringI Pre-BurnEl Post-Burn



canopy Pos i t i on


Cl Spring1 Pre-BurnH Post-Burn

arc the two principal factors causing heat injury to plants(Hare 1961) and are also likely to be deleterious to VAmycorrhizal fungi. Smoke resulting from burning of the treesmay also have contributed to the loss in mycorrhizae as it hasbeen shown to reduce other microbial activities (e.g., Li andothers 1988).

Interspaces had little aboveground vegetation and litter and noduff, which resulted in an overall lower soil temperature.Klopatek and others (1988) showed interspaces were the leastaffected by a simulated bum compared with canopymicrocosms. We observed that tire either swept through theinterspaces or did not bum at all. Pruning of grasses does notadversely affect mycorrhizal colonization, but temporarilyinhibits sporulation (Powell and Bagyaraj 1984). Weanticipate that the burning of grasses will produce the sameresponse. If grasses are killed, and roots are not severelydamaged by the fire, we theorize that root pieces will serve aspropagules. Tommerup and Abbot (1981) showed thatcolonized root pieces can remain viable propagules forextended periods in partially dried soils, but they loseviability once moisture levels increase, (Gould and Liberta198 1; Hall 1979) due to decomposition. Thus, the fire shifted

the distribution of spores from under the canopies to theinterspaces.

The time required for mycorrhizal populations to recoverfollowing tire in pinyon-juniper woodlands is unknown.Janos (1980), MacMahon (1987), and Allen and Allen (1988)suggest that mycorrhizal fungi are essential in ecosystemrecovery, facilitating plant establishment by regulatingnutrient flow from the soil to the plant. Thus, in order tounderstand and manage this ecosystem, it is necessary tounderstand mycorrhizal response to tire and how it affectspatch dynamics that lead to a mosaic landscape pattern (i.e.,from a canopy dominated mycorrhizal community to ainterspace dominated mycorrhizal community). This “patch”pattern of disturbance is unlike a widespread disturbance,such as stripmining (Klopatek and Klopatek 1984). Thus, thenatural mosaic configuration of canopy and interspace leads toa significant shift in the “patchwork dynamics” of mycorrhizaldistribution following fire.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSThe authors would like to give our sincerest appreciation tothe tire crews at the Tusayan Ranger district and the NationalPark Service, and the entire staff of the Tusayan RangerDistrict, for without their help this project could not havebeen a success. We also thank Lenny Schwarz for hisinvaluable field assistance. And lastly, to the Bambart SeedCompany for providing the seeds for this experiment.

Figure Z.--Number of VA mycorrhizal spores per 20-gramsoil sample taken from beneath pinyon and juniper canopiesand interspaces. Samples were taken at three locations undertree canopies--base, mid and canopy edge and from grasscovered interspaces


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L I T E R A T U R E C I T E DAllen, E.B.; Allen, M.F. 1980. Natural m-establishment of

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Allen, E.B; Allen, M.F. 1988. Facilitation of succession bythe non-mycotrophic colonizer Salsola kali(Chenopdiaceae) on a harsh site. Effects of mycorrhizalfungi. American Journal Botany 75:257-266.

Allen, M.F. 1988. Reestablishment of VA mycorrhizasfollowing severe disturbance: comparative patch dynamicsof a shrub desert and a subalpine volcano. Proceedings ofthe Royal Society of Edinburgh 94B:63-71.

Arnold, J.F.; Jameson, D.; Reid, E. 1964. The pinyon-juniper type of Arizona: Effects of grazing, fire, and treecontrol. Prod. Res. Rep. 84. Washington, DC: US.Department of Agriculture. 28 p.

Barth, R.C. 1980. Influence of pinyon pine trees on soilchemical and physical properties. Soil Science Society ofAmerica 44:804-809.

Bethlenfalvay, G.J.; Dakessian, S. 1984a. Grazing effects onmycorrhizal colonization and floristic composition of thevegetation on a semiarid range in Northcm Nevada.Journal of Range Management 3’?(4):212-216.

Bethlenfalvay, G.J.; Dakessian, S.; Pacovsky, R.C. 1984.Mycorrhizae in a southern California desert: ecologicalimplications. Canadian Journal of Botany 62:519-524.

Daft, M.J.; Nicolson, T.H. 1974. Vesicular-arbuscularmycorrhizas in plants colonizing coal wastes in ScotlandNew Phytologist 73: 1129-l 138.

Dhillion, S.S.; Anderson, R.C.; Liberta, A.E. 1988. Effect offire on the ecology of little bluestem (mzachyriumscoparium). Canadian Journal of Botany 66:706-7 13.

El-Giahmi, A.A.; Nicolson, T.H.; Daft, M.J. 1976.Endomycorrhizal fungi from Libyan soils. Transactions ofthe British Mycological Society 67: 164- 169.

Gibson D.; Daniels Hctrick, B.A. 1988. Topographic and fireeffects on the composition and abundance of VA-mycorrhizal fungi in a tallgrass prairie. Mycologia80:433-441.

Gould, AS; Libcrta, A.E. 1981. Effects of topsoil storageduring surface mining on the viability of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza. Mycologia 73:914-922.

Habte, M. 1989. fmpact of simulated erosion on theabundance and activity of indigenous vesicular-arbuscularmycorrhizal endophytcs in an oxisol. Biology and Fertilityof Soils 7: 164- 167.

Hall, I.R. 1979. Soil pellets to introduce vesicular-arbuscularmycorrhizal fungi into soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry11:85-86.

Hare, R.C. 1961. Heat effects on living plants. OccasionalPaper NO. 183. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest ExperimentStation. 32 p.

Harley, J.L.; Smith, SE. 1983. Mycorrhizal symbiosisLondon: Academic Press Inc. 483 p.

Hendricks, D.M. 1985. Arizona Soils. Tucson, AZ:University of Arizona Press. 244 p. + map.

Ianson, DC.; Allen, M.F. 1986. The effects of soil textureon extraction of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungalspores from arid sites. Mycologia 78:164-168.

Janos, D. 1980. Mycorrhizal influence in tropical successionBiotropica 1256-64.

Jasper, D.A.; Abbot, L.K.; Robson, A.D. 1989. Soildisturbance reduces the infectivity of external hyphae ofvesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. New Phytologist112:93-99.

Klopatek, C.C; Klopatek, J.M. 1984. Mycorrhizae: Effect onplant productivity in Great Basin coal-mine soils.Proceedings 6th North American Conference onMycorrhizae, Bend, OR. p. 308.

Klopatek, C.C.; Klopatck, J.M. 1986. Mycorrhizae, microbesand nutrient cycling processes in pinon-juniperecosystems. In: Proceedings Pinyon-Juniper Conference.Gcn. Tech. Rep. Int-125. Ogden UT.: U.S. Departmem‘of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest andRange Experiment Station. pp. 360-364.

Klopatek, C.C.; DeBano, L.F.; Klopatek, J.M. 1988. Effectsof simulated tire on vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae inpinyon-juniper woodlands. Plant and Soil 109:245-249.

KIopatek, J.M.; Olsen, R.J.; Emerson, C.J.; Jones, J.L.1979. Land use conflicts with natural vegetation in theUnited States. Environmental Conservation 6:191-199.

Klopatck, J.M. 1987. Nitrogen mineralization and nihilicationin mineral soils of pinyon-juniper ecosystems. SoilScience Society of America 51:453-4X7.


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Kovacic, D. A; St. John, T.V.; Dyer, M.I. 1984. Lack ofvesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal inoculum in a ponderosapine forest. Ecology 65: 1755-1759.

Li, SW.; Fredrickson, J.K.; Ligotkc, M.W.; Van Voris, P.;Rogers, J.E. 1988. Influence of smoke exposure on soilenzyme activities and nitrilication. Biology and Fertilityof Soils 6:341-346.

MacMahon, J.A. 1987. Disturbed lands and ecologicaltheory: an essay about mutualistic associations. In:Restoration Ecology. London: Cambridge UniversityPress. pp. 222-237.

Menge, J.A.; Johnson, E.L.; Platt, R.G. 1978. Mycorrhizaldependency of several citrus cultivars under three nutrientregimes. New Phytology 81:553-559.

Mikola, P.; Laiho, 0.; Erikainen, J.; Kuvaja, K. 1964. Theeffect of slashburning on the commencement ofmycorrhizal associations. Acta Forestalia Fennica 77: I- 11.

Masse, B. 1973. Advances in the study of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae. Annual Review ofPhytopathoiogy 11:171-196.

\Jielson, R.P. 1987. On the interface between currentecological studies and the paleobotany of pinyon-juniperwoodlands. In: Proc. Pinyon-Juniper Conf. 13-16, Reno.NV. USDA Forest Service. Gen. Tech. Rep INT-215.Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, ForestService, Intermountain Forest and Range ExperimentStation. pp. 93-98.

Pfeiffer, CM.; Bloss, H.E. 1980. Vesicular-arbuscularmycorrhizal fungi on soybean in Arizona. Mycologia72:1038-1040.

Powell, C.Ll.; Bagyaraj, D.J. 1984. VA mycorrhiza. BocaRaton, FL: CRC Press Inc. 234 p.

Recce, P.E.; Bonham, CD. 1978. Frequency ofendomycorrhizal infection in grazed and ungrazcd bluegrama plants. Journal of Range Management 3 1: 14% 15 1.

Schoenberger, M.N.; Perry, D.A. 1982. The effect of soildisturbance on growth and ectomycorrhizae of Douglas firand western hemlock seedlings: a greenhouse bioassay.Canadian Journal of Forest Research 12:3433-353.

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Tommerup, I.C.; Abbott, L.K. 1981. Prolonged survival andviability of VA mycorrhizal hyphal after root death. SoilBiology and Biochemistry 13:431-433.

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David A. Groeschl’, James E. Johnson, and David Wm. Smith”

Abstract-Forest floor and mineral soil samples were collec!cd and analyzed to determine physical andchemical differences among three bum levels (high, low, and unborncd) under a mixed pine forest one yearafter a mid-July, 19X8 wildfire. Total forest floor thickness and weight were significantly different amongall three burn levels. Low intensity surface tires consumed the surface Oi-Oc layer of the forest floorleaving the Oa layer relatively intact, whereas high intensity fires resulted in the complete destruction of Iheforest floor. Total carbon and nitrogen concentration and content were significantly higher in residual Oamaterial of low bum areas compared to unburned Oa material. Active acidity @H) in the top 10 cm ofmineral soil in high and low bum areas measured 4.6 and was significantly higher than unburned areas witha value of 4.3. Total carbon and nitrogen levels in the surface 10 cm of mineral soil were also higher inlow burn areas whereas high bum areas were lower than unburned sites. Mineral soil inorganic nitrogenlcve]s were significantly higher in both high and low bum areas compared to unburned arc as, thcrehyproviding a pulse of available nitrogen for plant uptake

INTRODUCTIONFire has and will continue to play an important role inaffecting biotic and edaphic components of forest ecosystems.The Table Mountain pine (Pinus puwens Lamb.) pitch pine(Pinus tieida Mill.) forest complex is typically considered afire-adapted community. In fact, several authors (Sanders andBuckncr 1988; Bardcn and Woods 1976; Zobei 1969)concluded that high intensity fires were necessary to ensuresuccessful regeneration and establishment of Table Mountainpine by (1) opening serotinous cones (Table Mountain pine),(2) inducing basal sprouting (pitch pine), (3) destroyingexcessive litter and exposing the mineral soil, (4) eliminatingdense undcrstory vegetation, and (5) destroying allclopathicsubstances. However, little is known about the role andimpact of variable intensity wildfire on forest floor andmineral soil characteristics upon which these species occur.

High elevation sites supporting mixed pine forests arcgenerally moisture-limiting and typified by shallow, acidicrocky soils with minimal rooting volume and associatedinfertile conditions. Low intensity tires (prescribed andwildfire) may actually enhance soil fertility by increasing pH(Gricr 1975; Mctz and others 1961; Wells and others 1979),providing an influx of inorganic forma of nutrients andincreasing solubility of these nutrients (Alban 1977; Metz etal 1961; Lewis 1974; Covington and Sacket 198(j), andvolatilizing compounds such as monoterpcnes which arcknown to have inhibiting effects on bacteria populationsresponsible for ammonification and nitrification processes

‘Silviculture Forester, lTT Rayonict Inc., Forest Research Center,P.O. Box 819, Yulee, FL 32097.

‘Associate Professor-Extension Specialist, and Professor of Forestry,respectively, DePstirnent of Forestry, Chcatham Hall, VirginiaPolytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061.

(White 1986a). Conversely, high intensity fires may result ina significant reduction of the total nutrient capital from thesite resulting in the further reduction of already poor sitequality conditions. However, these losses following highintcnsiry fires may not bc altogether detrimental, since TableMountain pine is thought to have a low nutrient requirementwhich may naturally select and promote fhe maintenance ofthis species on xeric, poor quality sites.

Much work has been done on the effect of prescribed tires onsoil properties, but these fires arc generally of low intensityand results are stated as contrasts between burned andunburned. In contrast, variable intensity wildfires providecomparisons among several intensity levels; however,statistical analyses and inferences from results are limited dueto non-random placement and inability to replicate treatments.Nonetheless, wildfires provide a unique study arena becauseof Ihcir natural occurrence and exhibition of several intensitylevels. The objectives of our study are to determine forestfloor and mineral soil physical and chemical propertiesfollowing a variable intensity wildfire within a mixed pineforest and to discuss the possible importance of these impactsin relation to existing vegetation.

METHODSStudy SiteOn July 11, 1988, the National Park Service (NPS) located alightning-caused wildfire on Dove1 Mountain in theShenandoah National Park and adjacent private lands. Dove1Mountain is located approximately 6.5 km northcast of thetown of Shenandoah in Page county, Virginia. The mid-Julywildfire burned approximately 350 ha before being broughtunder control and declared extinguished on August 8, 1988.


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The study area is located in the Blue Ridge Physiographicregion and is underlain by the Erwin (Antictam) and HamptonGeologic Formations (Allen 1967). Soils are derived fromgranodioritc, arkosic sandstone, and grcenstone and have notbeen classified into series but are typically shallow andskeletal, with numerous rock outcroppings. Elevations in thearea range from 350 to 800 m and slope inclination rangesfrom 40 to 65 percent. Mixed pine forests consistprcdominatly of Table Mountain, pitch, and Virginia pine(pinus viminiana Mill.).

Field Met hodsAreas were selected within the burned and adjacent unburnedforest so that conditions of uniform species composition, age,and density; slope position, aspect, elevation, and steepness;and soil character&tjcs were represented. Fire intensity orbum levels were not actually measured, however, thisterminology is used to categorize and represent the level ofoverstory mortality that resulted following fire occurrence.High intensity bum levels represent greater than 75 percentoverstory mortality of basal area and crown cover, whereaslow intensity bum levels represent less than 25 percentoverstory mortality. A combination of crown and surfacefires resulted in high intensity bum sites whereas surface firesrepresented low intensity burn areas. All sampling occurredon backslope positions with southwest-facing slopes.

Forest floor and mineral soil sampling occurredsimultaneously during the first full growing season followingthe fire. Three sites were located within each bum level for atotal of 9 sites. At each site, six sampling points wererandomly located for a total of I8 forest floor and compositemineral soil samples within each burn level. The forest floorwas sampled with a lo(l-cm2 template. At each samplingpoint, a knife was used to cut along the template border andthe Oi-Oe layer was removed and bagged. The Oa layer wasremoved separately and also bagged. Mean depth of theOi-Oe and Oa layers were determined within each Iireintensity level. At each sampling point, three mineral soilsamples were taken to a depth of 10 cm, and combined toform one composite sample. Bulk density samples were alsotaken to the lo-cm depth at each sampling point using theexcavation method (Blake and Hartge 1986).

Lab MethodsForest floor samples were oven-dried at 65°C for 48 hours,and rocks and other non-plant material were removed todetermine weight of the Oi-Oe and Oa layers of the forestfloor per unit area. Forest floor samples were sieved toremove the mineral soil fraction before being ground in a2-mm Wiley mill. Ground samples were then remixed withthe mineral soil fraction using a sample splitter. Total carbonwas determined using a LecoN high-temperature inductionfurnace (Nelson and Sommers 1982). Total nitrogen wasdigested using the micro-Kjeldahl method of Bremner andMulvaney (1982), followed by analysis of the resultantextracts using a TechniconlM autoanalyzer.

Composite mineral soil samples were air-dried and sieved toseparate coarse fragments. Active acidity, measured as pH,was determined using a 21 distilled water to soil ratio. Totalnitrogen and carbon levels of the surface IO cm of mineralsoil were determined using the same procedures as those usedfor forest floor samples. Inorganic nitrogen was determinedby extracting exchangeable NH,-N, NO,-N, and NO,-N, using2M KC1 extractant, followed by analysis with a Technicon”autoanalyzer.

Statistical MethodsForest floor and mineral soil variables were subjected toanalysis of variance for a completely randomized designfollowed by Tukey’s multiple comparison procedure todetermine significant differences at the 0.05 level among fireintensity levels (high, low, and unburned).


Forest Floor ParametersIn forest ecosystems, the major portion of macro-nutrients arctied up in the surface organic matter. These nutrients areslowly released through the process of microbial-mediateddecomposition and mineralization. Under normal oxidationconditions, organic matter provides a slow release, revolvingfund of nutrients for plant uptake. Conversely, fire tends torapidly release these nutrients either by volatilizing lowermolecular weight gases (H,O, and N) into the atmosphere orconcentrating many basic cations in the residual ash.

Wildfire consumes the forest floor in direct proportion to theintensity of the fire. Mean depth of the Oi-Oe layer inunburned areas was 1.4 cm; however, this layer was totallyabsent in low bum areas the first year after the tire (fig. 1).

depth (cm)n3.5

Unburned L O W

Bum LevelHigh

Figure 1 . Forest floor depth one year after fire occurrence.[Values in boxes represent comparisons among Oa layerswhile values in parentheses represent totals (Oi-Oe + Oa).Means followed by the same letter are not significantlydifferent at the 0.05 level.]


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Although the Oi-Oc layer was consumed following low Several studies (Brender and Cooper 1968; Moehring andintensity fires, the Oa layer was left relatively intact with a others 1966; Romancier 1960) have demonstrated thatmean depth of 1.6 cm. Mean depth of the Oa layer in prescribed burning does not result in a significant loss ofunburned areas was also 1.6 cm. Unlike low intensity surface forest floor material. In fact, a single prescribed bum mayfires, high intensity fires resulted in the complete destruction remove only a small percentage of the total forest floor depthof the entire forest floor (Oi-Oe + Oa). Therefore, the and weight. Results from this and other related studiesremaining discussion of forest floor parameters will focus indicate that reductions in forest floor material arc directlymainly on differences between low and unburned areas. related to tire intensity.

Similar to trends in depth, forest floor weight also changes indirect proportion to the intensity of the fire. Mean weight ofthe Oi-Oe layer for unburned sites averaged 24390 kg ha.’while no weights were recorded for low bum areas due to theconsumption of this layer during pyrolysis (fig. 2). Unlikethe Oi-Oe layer, Oa layer weights were not different betweenunburned and low bum areas.

Total C concentration (%) and content (kg hd’) weresignificantly higher in the residual Oa material collected fromlow bum areas compared to unburned Oa material. Total Cconcentration of Oa material from low and unburned areaswere 61 .O and 52.7 percent, respectively (fig. 3). Sincepost-tire Oa weights were similar for low and unburned areas,increases in total C concentration also resulted in greater Ccontent (kg ha-‘) of the Oa layer on low bum sites. Overall,however, total C content for the entire forest floor was 50percent lower on low bum areas, compared to unburnedareas, due to the consumption of the overlying Oi-Oe layer.

Weight (kg/ha) (Thousands)- -

5 0



2 0

1 0



Unburned lowBurn Level


0 Oa layer RiEl Oi-Oe layer 1

Figure 2 Forest floor weight (kg ha.‘) one year aflcr fireoccurrence. Means followed by the same letter are notsignificantly different at the 0.05 level.

Total forest floor depth and weight, represented by combiningthe Oi-Oe and Oa values, was significantly less on burnedareas due to the partial or complete destruction of forest floormaterial (figs. 1, 2). Assuming that high, low, and unburnedareas had similar forest floor depths and weights prior to fireoccurrence, low bum values would then represent a 47percent reduction in depth and a 57 percent reduction inweight while high intensity bum areas represent a 100 percentreduction in depth and weight compared to unburned sites.

Reductions in forest floor depth and weight following burninghave been well documented in the literature. Immediatelyaficr a periodic winter bum in the south, total forest floorweights were decreased from 26900 kg ha t to 19600 kg ha I.ARer 20 years of annual summer bums, the forest floor wasreduced to 7800 kg ha ‘, whereas annual winter burns reducedthe forest floor to 14600 kg ha-’ (Brendcr and Cooper 1968).

TC (‘W T C ( k g / h a ) ( T h o u s a n d s )7 0’








61 .Ob

0 0

Unburned L O W

Burn Level

H i g h

Figure 3 . Total carbon concentration (%) and content (kgha t) of the Oa layer one year after fire occurrence. Meansfollowed by the same letter are not significantly different atthe 0.05 level.

1 4


1 0



1 3 1

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The major elemcnbl components of organic matter include N,0, H, and C. During normal decay processes of organicmatter, some C is converted to CO,, some is incorporatedinto microbial tissue while the remaining C is converted tomore stable humus forms which are higher in total Cconcentration than the original organic matter (Stevenson1986). Pyrolysis reactions tend to accelerate this process by

volatilizing lighter atomic elements (N,O,H) while convertingthe original organic matter to more stable humus forms thatcontain a higher percentage of reduced, elemental C.Likewise, other basic cations (K,Ca,etc.) along with reduced,elemental C, are concentrated in the residual ash followingfire. The reduction of C and the concentrating effect ofpyrolysis reactions would explain the increase of total C notedin the Oa layer of low bum areas in this study. This reducedform of C does not supply a readily mineralizable source formicrobial assimilation and may remain in the soil as fusainfor many years (Sopcr 1919; Hansen 1943). Since C is alarge chemical constituent of organic matter (approximately58%), a loss of organic matter following fire will result in areduction in C content from the site. The more intense thetires, the greater the consumption of the forest floor andsubsequent C pool. Organic matter also serves as animportant source of N, P, and S, which are also reducedfollowing consumption of the forest floor.

Similar to C trends, total N concentration (ppm) and content(kg ha ‘) were also higher in the residual Oa material of lowbum areas compared to unburned Oa material (fig. 4). Anincrease in total N following low intensity tires may be due,in part, to an increase in inorganic N in the Oa layer.Several authors (White and others 1973; Klemmedson andothers 1962; Kovacic and others 1986) have found similartrends in inorganic N concentrations one year after prescribedtires. This increase may be attributed to incompletecombustion and volatilization of N with subsequent downwardtranslocation and reprecipitation of N gases in cooler forestfloor and mineral soil layers (Klemmcndson and others 1962;Tangren and McMahon 1976; Wells 1971). Substantialamounts of NHCN are also produced chemically by soilheating and microbially after tire. Unlike N&-N, NO,-N isnot produced during soil heating, but is formed duringsubsequent mineralization and nitrification processes.Additionally, White (1986a) found that potential Nmineralization and nitrification increased in residual forestfloor material following prescribed fires. Jones and Richards(1977) suggested that nitrification processes following firemay not be due to Nitrosomonas or Nitrobacter bacteria butto heterotrophic fungi. Increases in total N may also becorrelated with an increase in total C and/or to an increase inNZ-fixation following fire. N3-fixation may contribute 10 to100 kg ha 1 of N annually (Stevenson 1986).

TKN @pm) (Thousands)i




1 5

1 0



Unburned L o w

Burn Level

J-KN &e/ha)

0 0

H i g h

I-----m TKN (ppm) m TKN (kg/ha)

Figure 4 Total nitrogen concentration (%) and content (kgha ‘) of the Oa layer one year after fire occurrence. Meansfollowed by the same letter are not significantly different atthe 0.05 level.

Assuming hom*ogeneity on burned and unburned sites prior tofire occurrence, combined forest floor (Oi-Oe + Oa) C and Nvalues for low burn areas would represent a 50 and 28percent reduction, respectively, compared to unburned values(figs. 5, 6). These reductions in total C and N content of theresidual forest floor in low bum areas is attributed to theconsumption of the overlying Oi-Oe layer during pyrolysis.

Generally, low intensity tires, as occurred on some areas inthis study, may remove only the Oi-Oe layer, leaving the Oalayer relatively intact. This residual Oa layer serves toprotect the underlying mineral soil from erosion and providesa more mineralizable source of nutrients (White 1986a).Conversely, high intensity fires may remove the entire forestfloor, thereby exposing the mineral soil to the vagaries ofweather and possibly reducing infiltration, water holdingcapacity, and other associated benefits attributable to thesurface organic matter.



3 0 0





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Total Carbon (%) (Thousands)4--- -;*sa




-I 0.w - - - -_. -4

L o w

Burn LevelH i g h

m ()a layer EB Oi-Oe layer

Figure 5 - Total carbon content (kg ha ‘) of the entire forestfloor (Oi-Oe + Oa values) one year after fire occurrence.Means followed by the same letter are not significantlydifferent at the 0.05 level.



Total Nitrogen (kg/ha)


Unburned Low

Burn Level


Figure 6 . Total nitrogen content (kg ha”) of the entire forestfloor (Oi-Oe + Oa values) one year aher tire occurrence.Means followed by the same letter arc not significantlydifferent at the 0.05 level.

Mineral Soil ParametersFire generally results in a decrease in soil acidity. Soilacidity in the surface 10 cm of mineral soil was 4.3 inunburned areas and significantly higher than low and highbum areas which measured 4.6. This rise in pH followinglirc is generally attributed to an influx of nutrient-rich ash anda resultant increase in exchangeable cations in the surfacemineral soil. The magnitude of change in soil acidity isdependent upon such factors as nutrient concentration of theoverlying litter, cation exchange capacity (CEC), bufferingcapacity and original pH of the soil, and rainfall frequencyand amounts (Gricr 1975; Metz and others 1961). McKee(1982) found that soil acidity decreased in the surface (O-8cm) mineral soil following a combination of differentprescribed bum treatments on four coastal plain pine sites.Changes in pH ranged from 0.1 to 0.4 units across the fourstudy areas. Greater changes in @-I may occur, however,most studies indicate changes of less than one pH unitfollowing prescribed tires which return to prcbum levelswithin a few years.

Total C and N levels in the surface 10 cm of mineral soilwere higher on low bum sites compared to unburned areas(iigs. 7, 8). Conversely, high bum areas had lower total Cand N levels than unburned sites. An increase in total Cfollowing low intensity fires may be associated with theredistribution and movement of colloidal-sized charredmaterial, high in elemental carbon, downward from theoverlying residual ash into the mineral soil by gravity andwater (Mctz and others 1961), and/or by isoelectricprecipitation of alkali humatcs produced during burning (Viro1969). A large portion of the mineral soil organic matter(humus) is associated with the forest floor-mineral soilinterface and within the top 2-3 centimeters of the mineralsoil. Following the removal of the entire forest floor by highintensity Iires, soil humus may also be destroyed wheretemperatures exceed 250°C. These temperatures are easilyachieved during high intensity fires where temperatures havebeen shown to exceed 700°C at the mineral soil surface(Debano and Rice 1971). Another factor which maycontribute to a loss of total C from the mineral soil is thephysical removal of the surface mineral soil and associated Cdue to erosion. Once the protective forest floor mantle isremoved from the site, such as by high intensity tires, erosionmay lead to a direct loss of C and other nutrients from thesite. In this study, erosion was not measured, but wasobserved by the accumulation of mineral soil at downslopepositions below the high intensity bum areas. Low andunburned sites did not show any observable signs of surfaceerosion.

Total N followed similar trends to total C levels. Increases intotal N following fire are likely due to an increase in organicand inorganic forms of N. Reasons for these increases intotal N following tire have already been discussed earlier inrelation to forest floor material.


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Total Carbon (kg/ha) (Thousands)

20 -/’

Ii 16.2a

14.6a /

10 -i


0 !

Unbirned L o w

Bum Level

H i g h

Total Nitrogen (kg/ha)/




U n b u r n e d L o w

Bum Level

H i g h

/ m TC (kg/ha) I !%?i T K N (kg/ha)

Figure 7 . Total carbon content (kg ha ‘) within the top 10 cm Figure 8 - Total nitrogen content (kg ha”) within the top 10of the mineral soil one year aher fire occurrcncc. Means cm of the mineral soil one year after fire occurrence. Meansfollowed by the same letter are not significantly different at followed by the same letter are not significantly different atthe 0.05 level. the 0.05 level.

KCI-ext. N (DDm)Inorganic N levels were signiticantty higher on burned areascompared to unburned areas (fig. 9). Similar results by otherauthors (Bums 1952; Wells 1971; Alban 1977; White 1986a;Covington and Sackct 1986) have also shown increases ininorganic N following burning which is generally attributed toan increase in mineralization rates (Likens and others 1970;White 1986b; Lodhi and Killingbeck 1980) following adisturbance such as fire or clearcutting. Mineralization(ammonification t nitrihcation) is the process wherebyorganic N is converted to plant available inorganic formsthrough microbial-mediated biochemical transformations andis influenced by factors which affect microbial populationsand activities such as pH, temperature, soil moisture, and thepresence of compounds such as polyphenolics, tannins, andmonotcrpenes. Following tire, increases in soil pH,temperature, and moisture, and the removal of inhibitingcompounds favor increased rates of mineralization. Anincrease in inorganic N may also be associated with thedownward translocation and rcprecipitation of N gases atcooler mineral soil depths. Klemmendson and others (1962)showed that burning accelerated N movement from theoverlying forest floor into the mineral soil. Althoughmineralization rates vary over time with fluctuations of thefactors which influence this process, the results of ourpoint-in-time sampling of inorganic N reflects the conditionsfound by other investigators.




U n b u r n e d L o w

Bum Level

H i g h

Figure 9 - KCLextractable nitrogen concentration (ppm)within lhe top 10 cm of the mineral. soil one year alter fireoccurrence. Means followed by the same letter are notsignificantly different at the 0.05 level.

1 3 4

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Most of the increase in inorganic N following low intensityfires is due to NH,N, whereas most of the increase ininorganic N following high intensity fires is due to anincrease in both NH,-N and NO,-N levels (fig. 9). A lack ofNO,-N in low and unburned areas suggests that nilrificationprocesses may be inhibited by some factor. Nitrificationprocesses are severely limited at pH values below 4.5,insufficient soil moisture and cool temperatures, and in thepresence of inhibitory compounds such as phenols, tannins,and monoterpenes (Stevenson 1986; White 1986b; Lodhi andKillingbeck 1986). Given the fact that low and high intensityareas had a pH of 4.6, the increase in NH,-N and the lack ofNO,-N following low intensity fires suggests that the processof ammonification may be enhanced or less affected thannitrilication in the presence of factors such as monotcrpenes,phenols, and tannins in the residual forest floor material.White (in press) suggested that monoterpenes may have agreater inhibitory effect on Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacterpopulations, responsible for nitrification, than onmicroorganisms responsible for ammonification. Lodhi andKillingbeck (1980) found that water extracts laden withsoluble polyphenolics, tannins, and monoterpenes reducednumbers of Nitrosomonas by 93 percent. Other factorspossibly contributing to an increase in the NO,-N to NH,-Nratio, following high intensity fires, is the fact that theoverstory canopy was left mainly intact following lowintensity fires, whereas complete ovcrstory mortality result&following high intensity fires. This overstory removalfollowing high intensity fires results in more direct solarradiation and a resultant increase in soil temperature.Sub-surface soil moisture also increases due to removal oftranspiring vegetation. Increased soil temperatures andmoisture favor rapid nitrilication (Stevenson 1986).

Since N is the most limiting nutrient on most forest sites andC sources contributing to the “Greenhouse Effect” areimportant considerations, changes in these pools should beconsidcrcd. Total C and N pools (forest floor + mineral soil)in low bum arcas one year alter fire occurrence were 25 and10 percent lower, rcspcctivcly, than unburned areas. Unlikelow intensity bum areas, total C and N pools in high intensityburn areas were 68 and 65 percent lower, respectively, thanunburned areas. Low intensity lires resulted in a partialredistribution of C and N from the forest floor into themineral soil with a slight overall reduction in the combinednutrient capital. High intensity fires, however, resulted in noredistribution of nutrients and a greater loss of combined Cand N capital from the site. Although reductions in thesepools may bc severe following high intensity fires, losses maynot be altogether detrimental when considering the synccologyof mixed pine forests on these poor sites. Periodic severefires may bc necessary to prevent stagnation and to promotesuccessful regeneration and establishment of these specieswhile inhibiting more nu(ricnt- and moisture-demandinghardwood species.

The impacts of fire on soil are highly variable and depend onsuch factors as tire intensity and duration, weather conditions,and forest floor and mineral soil characteristics at the time ofburning. Overall, low intensity fires in this ecosystem seemto have little deleterious effects on soil properties and may, infact, facilitate increased mineralization rates, thereby releasinga pulse of nutrients to the site. Increases in pH, microbialactivity and nitrogen fixation may also occur. Conversely,high intensity fires result in the removal of the protectiveforest floor and a much greater loss of nutrients from the site.However, a question must be raised in relation to the overallimpact of high intensity tires in relation to site quality and theassociated vegetation occupying a site. Is the loss of nutrientsmore significant on better sites where there is a greater buffercapacity and the total loss of nutrients in proportion to thewhole is small? Or is the loss more significant on poorersites where a smaI1 loss may represent a Iarge portion of thenutrient capital for that site? Given adequate time withoutdisturbance, forest floor and mineral soil properties tend toincrease in both depth and fertility. On minimally developedsoils as in this study, where soil depth is shallow and inherentfertility of parent material is low, much of the sites’ fertilityis derived from and dependent upon the turnover of forestfloor material and external inputs. Considering the five majorsoil-forming factors, and in the absence of disturbance, depthand fertility of the mineral soil should increase, therebyallowing more nutrient-demanding species to invade andcompete for site resources.

Tree species occupying better, more productive sites generallyhave higher nutrient requirements; thercforc, even a smallchange in nutrient levels may result in a species shift.Convcrscly, tree species occupying poorer sites may havelower minimal nutrient requirements and may actually dependon periodic fire to disrupt the progress towards site qualityimprovcmcnt. In fact, one of the possible secondaryfunctions for the high content and slow turnover rate ofmonoterpcnes in fresh litter of fire-adapted Pinus species, maybe to increase probability of fire occurrence. Terpenes andresins have a heat of combustion of 7720 calories per gram,which is twice that of cellulose (Rothermal 1976). Theseextractivcs are outgassed early in the pyrolysis process andmay contribute three-fourths of the total flame height andintensity of the flame zone (Philpot 1969).

It is possible that low intensity fires would not provide thenecessary conditions required by Tahle Mountain pine to~ucccss~ully regenerate and compete, whereas high intensity&res generally result in (1) opening of scrotinous cones; (2)removal of the forest floor providing favorable seed bedconditions; (3) removal of inhibitory compounds such asmonoterpcncs, tannins, and polyphenolics; and (4) ironically,limiting site quality improvcmcnt by preventing nutrientbuildup to occur. Thus, a combination of ihcsc factors mayresult in retarding the invasion of more nutrient-demandingcompetitors and sustaining the endemic Table Mountain pineon nutrient- and moisture-limiting sites.


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SUMMARYTotal forest floor thickness and weight were significantlyreduced following low and high intensity tires. However, lowintensity tires consumed only the Oi-Oe layer, leaving the Oalayer relatively intact, whereas high intensity fires resulted inthe complete removal and destruction of the entire forestfloor. Total C and N content of the Oa layer was higher onlow bum areas compared to unburned Oa material. However,an overall reduction of forest floor total C and N resultedfollowing both low and high intensity tires due to the partialor complete destruction of forest floor material.

Mineral soil pH was significantly higher in both low and highintensity bum areas compared to unburned areas.Additionally, total C and N content of the surface IO cm ofmineral soil was also higher on low bum areas compared tounburned areas. However, high bum areas had lower total Cand N levels. Inorganic N levels were significantly higher inboth low and high intensity bum areas, thereby providing apulse of available N for plant uptake.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThe authors would like to thank Sigma Xi for a grant-in-aidof research and the National Park Service for funding thisproject.

LITERATURE CITEDAlban, D.H. 1977. Influence on soil properties of prescribed

burning under mature red pine. USDA For. Serv. NCFor. Exp. Sta. Res. Pap. NC-139, 8p.

Allen, R.M. 1967. Geology and mineral resources of PageCounty. Dept. of Conserv. and Economic Development.Virg. Div. of Mineral Res. Bull. No. 81, 78~.

Bardcn, L.S., and F.W. Woods. 1976. Effects of fire onpine and pine-hardwood forests in the SouthemAppalachians. For. Sci. 22:399-403.

Blake, G.R., and K.H. Hartge. 1986. Bulk density. InMethods of Soil Analysis, Part I-Physical andMineralogical Methods (2nd ed.). Arnold Klute ted.).Agron. Monogr. No. 9, Madison, WI. pp. 363-375.

Bremner, J.M., and C.S. Mulvaney. 1982. Total nitrogen.In Methods of Soil Analysis, Part Ii-Chemical andMicrobiological Properties (2nd ed.). Page, A.L., R.H.Miller, and D.R. Keeney (eds.). Agron. Monogr. No. 9,Madison, WI. pp. 595624.

Brender, E.V., and R.W. Cooper. 1968. Prescribed burningin Georgia’s Piedmont loblolly pine stands. J. For.66:3 l-36.

Burns, P.Y. 1952. Effects of fires on forest soils in the pinebarren region of New Jersey. Yale Univ. School For.Bull. 57. 50~.

Covington, W.W., and S.S. Sackett. 1986. Effect ofperiodic burning on soil nitrogen concentrations inponderosa pine. Soil Sci. Sot. Am. J. 50:452-457.

Dcbano, L.F., and R.M. Rice 1971. Fire in vegetationmanagement-its effect on soil. In InterdisciplinaryAspects of Watershed Management Symposium Proc., pp.321-346.

Crier, C.C. 1975. Wildfire effects on nutrient distributionand leaching in a coniferous ecosystem. Can. J. For.Res. 5599-607.

Hansen, H.P. 1943. Post-Pleistocene forest succession innorthern Idaho. Amer. Mid. Nat. 30:796-802.

Jones, J.M., and B.N. Richards. 1977. Effects ofreforestation or turnover of 1 SN-labeled nitrate andammonium in relation to changes in soil microflora. SoilBiol. Biochem. 9:383-392.


FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (137)

Klemmedson, J.o., A. M . Schultz, H. ~~~~~~ and H.H.Biswcll. 1962. Effect of prescribed burning of forestlitter on total soil nitrogen. Soil Sci. Sot. Am. PrOC.7_6:700-202.

Kovacic, D.A., D.MSwift, J.E. Ellis, and T.E. Hakonson.1986. Immediate effects of prescribed burning on mincrdsoil nitrogen in pondcrosa pine of New Mexico. SoiT Sci.141:71-76.

Lewis, W.M., Jr. 1974. Effects of fire on nutrientmovement in a South Carolina pine forest. Ecology55:1120-l 127.

Likens, G.E., F.H. Bormann, N. MJohnson, D.W. Fisher,and R.S. Pierce. 1970. Effects of forest cutting andherbicide treatment on nutrient budgets in the HubbardBrook watershed-ecosystem. Ecol. Monogr. 40:23-47.

Lodhi, M.A.K., and K.T. Killingbe&. 1980. Allelopathicinhibition of nilrificalion and nitrifying bacteria in apondcrosa pine (Pinus pondcrosa DOUgl.) community.Am. J. of Botany 67: 147,3-1429.

McKee, W.H. Jr. 1982. Changes in soil fertility followingprescribed burning on Coastal Plain pine sites. USDAFor. Serv. SE For. Expt. Sla. Res. Pap. SE-234, 23~.

Metz, L.J., T. Loltii, and R.A. Klawitlcr. 1961. Somee($cts of prescribed burning on Coastal Plain fOEFit soilUSDA For. Serv. SE For. Expt. Sta. Pap. 133. lop.

Mochring, D.M., C.X. Grano, and J.R. Basselt. 1966.Properties of forcstcd loess soils aRcr repcalcd prcscribcdbums. USDA For. Serv. SO For. and Ran. Expt. Sta.,Res. Note SO-40, 4p.

N&on, D.W., and L.E. Sommers. 1982. Total carbon,organic carbon, and organic matter. In Methods of SoilAnalysis, Part II-Chemical and Microbiological Propertics(2nd cd.). Page, A.L., R.N. Miller, and D.R. KeCtley(cds.). Apron. Monogr. No. 9, Madison, WI. pp.539-580.

Philpot, C.W. 1969. The effects of reduced extractivecontent on the burning rate of aspen ieaves. USDA For.Serv. INT For. and Ran. Expt. Sta. Note INT-92, 6~.

Romancicr, R.M. 1960. Reduction of fuel accumulationswith fire. USDA For. Serv. SE For. Ext. Sta. Res.Notes SE-143, 3_p.

Rolhermal, R.C. 1976. Thermal uses and properties ofcarbohydrates and lignins. Academic, Pub., SanFrancisco, CA. pp. 245-‘?59.

Sanders, G., and E. Buckncr. 1988. Fire: Is it an essentialc o m p o n e n t in Table Mountain p i n e e c o s y s t e m s ?(Abstract,). poster Session: 1988 Nat. sot. of Am. For.

Sym, 4p.

Soper, E.R. 1919. The peat deposits ofrvlinncsota. Minn.Ccol. Survey Bull. 16~.

Stevenson, F.J. 1986. Cycles of soil. Wiley-IntersciencePub., New York, N.Y. 380~.

Tangrcn, C.D., and C.K. McMahon. 1975. Contents andeffects of forest fire smoke. In Southern Forestry SmokeManagement Guidebook. USDA For. Serv. SE ForestExpt. Sta. Gcn. Tech. Report SE-lo.

Viro, P.J. 1969. Prescribed burning in forestry. CommIns t . For . Fcnn. 67 .7 . 49~.

Wells, C.G. 1971. Effects of prcscribcd burning on soilchemical properties and nutrient availability. In USDAFor. Serv. SE For. Expt. Sta. Proc. Prescribed BurningSymp., pp. 86-99.

Wells, C.G., R.E. Campbell, L.F. Debano, C.E. Lewis,R.L. Fredrikscn, E.C. Franklin, R.C. Fro&h, and P.H.Dunn. 1979. Effects of fire on soil: a state of knowledgercvicw. U S D A Fat. Serv. Gcn. Tech. Rep. WO-7.341’.

White, C . S . 1986a. EfTects of prescribed lire on rates ofdecomposition and nitrogen mineralization in a pondcrosapine ccosystcm. Biol. and ht. of Soils 2:87-95.

white, C.S. 1986b. Volatile and water-soluble inhibitors ofnitrogen mineralization and nilrificalion in a pot&rosapine ccosystcm. Biol. and Fcrt. of Soils 2:97-104.

White, C.S. In press. The role of monoterpenes in soilnitrogen cycling processes. Accepted byBioEcochemistry.

White, E.M., W.M Thompson, and F. R. Gartner. 1973Heat effects on nutrient release from soils underpan&rosa pint. .I Range Manage. 3_6:32-24.

Zobcl, D.B. 1969. Factors affecting the distribution of Pinuspungens, an Appalachian endemic. Ecol. Monogr.39:303-333.


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PONDEROSA PINE (Pinus ponderosa).

Carleton S. White’

Abstract-Monotcrpenes, principal components of turpentine, have been shown to be invcrscly cor&a[cdwith N mineralization and nitrification rates in ponderosa pine (Pinus pondcrosa Dougl. ex Laws.) soil. andsre suspected to be allelopathic substances causing germination inhibition or growth regulation. Becausemonoterpenes are highly flammable, prescribed fire may represent an efficient method of loweringmonoterpene concentrations in both organic and mineral soil horizons. Samples of the forest floor and the0- to IO-cm soil horizon were collected from four separate plots within a pondcrosa pine stand immediatelybef0r.e and a&r fore treatment. The prescribed tire treahnents resulted in a greater proportionate loss ofmonoterpenes than of forest-floor biomass: loss of 55 percent of the forest-floor mass corresponded to a 99percent loss of monoterpenes. Forest-floor inorganic N content was doubled following treatment, with allthe increase as NH,‘-N; the mineral soil inorganic N content was unchanged. During incubation forpotential N mineralization, only the burned forest-floor samples produced nitrate. Thus, the prescribed liretreatments resulied in potentially favorable changes in organic malter quantity and quality, levels ofinorganic N, and potential rales of N-cycling processes.

INTRODUCTIONManagement of southwestern pondcrosa pine (Pinusponderosa Doug]. ex Laws.) olkn includes the USC ofprescribed burning to reduce accumulated fuels. Studies havedocumented increases in the inorganic N content of forest-floor or mineral soil horizons immediately after burning(White 1986a; Kovacic and othcrs1986) or within the firstgrowing season aRer burning (White 1986a; Ryan andCovington 1986; Covington and Sackett 1984; Covington andSack&t 1986). The increase in inorganic N is accompaniedby a decrease in total N within the forest floor (White andothers 1973 ; Klemmcdson and others 1962; Kovacic andothers 1986) and by an increase in biomass and nutrientcontent of understory vegetation (Harris and Covington 1983;Vlamis and others 19.55).

White (1986a) conducted research on the effects of prescribedburning on four plots within a ponderosa pine stand located inthe Jemcz Mountains of New Mexico. The bum treatmentsresulted in an immediate increase in the amount of NH,+-N inthe forest floor. Potential N mineralization and nitrilication,as determined by laboratory incubations, were increased insamples of the forest floor collected within 12 hours of thebum. Nitrogen mineralization and nitrification potentials ofthe mineral soil were significantly increased in only 1 of 4plots immediately after the bums; howcvcr, both processeswere significantly increased in the mineral soil from all plots6 months after the bum and remained elevated 10 monthsafter the bum. White suggested that the immediate increasein nitrilication in the forest floor and the subsequent increase

‘Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University ofNew Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.


in nitrification in the mineral soil could be explained by theIOSS of volatile inhibitors from the forest floor.

The roles of volatile and water-soluble inhibitors of Nmineralization and nitrificatjon in the forest floor of the samepondcrosa pine ecosystem were studied by White (1986b).Water extracts of unburned forest floor inhibited nitrificationby 17 percent when applied to actively nitrifying mineral soilfrom the same pondcrosa pine ecosystem after the bumtreatment. Placing vials containing unburned forest floor orselected monoterpenes of ponderosa pine in sealed jars thatcontained actively nitrifying soil inhibited nitrification by 87.4percent and 100 percent, respectively, and inhibited Nmineralization by 73.3 percent and 67.7 percent, respectively.White (1986b) suggested that organic compounds that arewater-soluble and volatile act as inhibitors of N mineralizationand nitrilication in this ponderosa pine ecosystem. Inhibitionof nitrification was also observed by Lodhi and Killingbeck(1980), who found that water extracts of pondcrosa pineneedles applied to soil suspensions reduced numbers ofNirrosomonas by 93 percent. They suspected thatpolyphenolics and condensed tannins were the activecompounds inhibiting nitrification. It appears that a numberof secondary compounds produced by ponderosa pine couldact synergistically to inhibit nitrilication and N-mineralizationprocesses.

Laboratory bioassays (White, in press) showed thatmonotcrpenes could interact with N-cycling processes throughfour mechanisms: (a) by reducing net N mineralization; (II)by inhibiting nitrification; (c) by enhancing assimilatoryuptake of NO;-N; and (d) by stimulating immobilization ofinorganic N. The net effect of monoterpene addition on soil

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inorganic N content was to reduce the amount of NO,‘-Nrelative to NH,+-N, leading to net immobilization of inorganicN at high monoterpenc additions (fig. 1). While (n\r PRESS)also showed that monoterpcnc concen&ations were highest inthe L horizon and declined by an order of magnitude witheach descending organic and mineral soil horizon (fig. 2).Prescribed burning has the potential to reduce the totalmonoterpene content of the soil profile drastically bccausc theorganic horizons rich in monoterpenes would be consumedpreferentially.

The goal of this stady was to identify the changes inmonoterpenc and inorganic N concentrations in the forestfloor and mineral soil immediately following (within hours)prescribed burning of plots within a ponderosa pine stand, andto identify the change in potential N mineralization andnibilication characteristics of these horizons.

METHODSThe present study was conducted on the same site whereWhite (1986a, in press) had worked. The site is in north-central New Mexico, within the Jemez National Forest, nearBear Springs (elevation 2225 m). It is located on a smallknoll of volcanic ash and pumice, with very uniform Ahorizon soils. Slope of each plot was less than 7”. Theoverstory was composed entirely of pondcrosa pine.Scattered seedlings and saplings of pinyon pine (Pinus edUliS)and various species of junipers (Juniperus spp.) were present.White originally chose the plots to avoid heavy fuel depositsand to favor areas with approximately equal accumulations offorest floor material and woody debris. Four of the 8 originalplots were treated with prescribed burning on 7 November1983. The 4 remaining plots were used in this studyfoilowing a study of seasonal dynamics in mOnOttYpCI%content and potential N mineralization and nitrificationcharacteristics (White, in press).

‘*’ n 0 Ammonium

\ \ q Nitrate


Relative Monoterpene Concentration

Fig. 1. Generalized response of soil inorganic-N levels toincreasing m o n o t e r p e n c additions. Monoterpcnc additions arcrelative values, not actual concentrations (from White inPm%).



Oe F

0.3 H




lvg 1 81

.I loo IO’ d fl3 x)’

Fig. 2. Mean monoterpenc concentration (n = 8) within thedesignated soil horizons of a ponderosa pine stand in NewMexico. The fresh litter was collected in October 1987; otherhorizons were collected in November 1987. Horizons aredrawn in approximate proportion to actual depth in the fieldbased upon the mineral soil horizon equal to IO cm.

The plots were burned by U.S.D.A. Forest SerViCe perSOrlnC!~on 27 October 1988. A fire break was scraped around theperimeter of each plot and the associated 5-m buffer zone.The plots Were burned by igniting three ships about 5 m apartparallel to the length of the plot. Rates of fire spread rangedfrom 0.02 to 0.05 m s.‘, OII 3 of the 4 plots, postbumsamples were collected within one hour of burning. Thefourth plot, which had a southern aspect, burned the longest;glowing combustion was observed about 2 hours afterignition. Samples fium the fourth plot were takenapproximately 3 hours aRer ignition. The amount of forestfloor consumed by the burning was determined as thediffcrcncc bchvccn ash-free mass of the prcbum and postbums a m p l e s .

Collections were made from each plot on 27 October 1988immediately before and after burning. Each plot measured4m by 9m. A 5-m buffer zone around the perimeter of eachplot was also burned. One sample per plot was collectedbefore burning, and one sample along the same line transectwas collected aRcr burning. For each sample, all of theforest-floor material (0 horizon) beneath a 0.25 m* templatewas /jarvested. The template was placed on the forest floor, a


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knife was used to make cuts around the template border, andthe surrounding forest floor was scraped away. Mineral soilwas collected to a lo-cm depth with a lo-cm-diameter corer.The soil collection was made at the center of the area fromwhich the forest floor was harvested.

All samples were placed in resealable plastic bags and kept inthe dark on ice during transport to the laboratory. In thelaboratory, all samples were kept refrigerated at 4 “C. Rootswith diameter greater than about I mm were removed byhand sorting. All material larger than 6.4 mm in diameterwas removed from all samples by sieving. Needles and othermaterials too long to lit into the incubation cup were cut intoappropriate lengths (usually into halves or thirds). Allsamples were corrected for ash content by determining weightremaining after ignition at 500°C.

Nitrogen mineralization and nitritication potentials weremeasured by aerobic incubation. After a portion of eachsample had been adjusted to 50 percent of determined water-holding capacity (WHC) by methods described in White andMcDonnell (1988), a total of 17 subsamples per horizon wereapportioned into I25-mI plastic cups. Each cup receivedapproximately IO g dry-weight (DW) of mineral soil or 3 gDW of forest floor. One subsample of each horizon wasimmediately extracted with 100 ml 2 E KC1 for NO,--N andNH,+-N analyses, and another subsample was frozen (-5 “C)prior to processing for monoterpene analysis. The remainderof the cups were covered with plastic wrap, sealed with arubber band, and incubated in the dark at 20 “C. As reportedby Jones and Richards (1977), the plastic wrap minimizedwater loss during incubation, yet exchange of CO, and 0, wassufficient to keep the subsamples aerobic during incubation.Moisture content was monitored by weight loss andreplenished as needed

At weekly intervals to 10 weeks, a subsample of each horizonwas removed for NO;-N and NH,+-N analyses. Afterextraction with 100 ml 2N KC1 for 18-24 hours, the clarifiedsupcrnatant was analyzed for NH,‘-N and NOi-N +NO;-N(NO;-N was never detected) on a Technicon AutoAnalyzer.White (1986a) has described the procedures employed.

A&r incubation for 1, 2, 4, 7, and IO weeks, a subsample ofeach horizon was frozen (-5 “C) prior to processing formonoterpcnc analyses. Subsamplcs of mineral soil weretransferred to plastic scintillation vials and stored at -80 “C.A mortar and pestle were used to gring the forest floorsubsamples separately under liquid nitrogen to break apart the

larger material. These subsamplcs were then transferred withliquid nitrogen to a Tecatori centrifugal grinder fitted with aLO-mm screen. After grinding, the forest-floor material wastransferred to plastic scintillation vials, sealed, and stored at U80 “C until monoterpene analyses could be performed.Subsamples (ranging in weight from 9 to 10 g for mineral soiland 2 to 3 g for forest floor) were extracted with 10 ml ofether, which contained a known amount of fenchyl acetate foruse as an internal standard, in a 50-ml Erlcnmeyer flask thatwas covered with paraffin film and aluminum foil. Aher 1hour extraction at room temperature, the ether was decantedand centrifuged (mineral soils did not require centrifugation).

The clarified supematant was pipetted into a ground-glass-stoppered culture tube, sealed with paraffin film, andrefrigerated at 4 “C. A 4-~1 portion of the refrigerated etherextract was injected into a Shimadzu GC-9 fitted with a splitinjector (split ratio was 50: I), a bonded methyl siliconecapillary column (25 m in length, 0.25 mm in insidediameter, 0.25 micron in film thickness), and a flame-ionization detector. The injector temperature was 270 “C,flow rate was 4 cc min.‘, and initial oven temperature was 60

“C. Oven temperature was increased by 4 “C min.’ to 109 “C,then by 40 “C min.’ to 250 “C. Individual monotcrpenestandards (verified with CC-MS) were added to sampleextracts, and monoterpenes were identified by co-chromatography. Peak area was converted to mass ofindividual monoterpenes by means of calibration curvesgenerated with standards. An average calibration factor wasused to convert the peak area of each unknown to relativem a s s .

The effects of the prescribed tire treatment were determinedfor each analysis by comparing the 4 pretreatment samples tothe 4 post-treatment samples by analysis of variance (controlvs. treatment, n=4). Ash-free mass lost upon ignition wasused as a measure of burn intensity since rates of spread andflame heights were approximately equal for each plot. Allconcentration data were converted to mass per unit area forseasonal comparisons. Net N mineralization was defined asthe increase in the amount of inorganic N (NH,‘-N f NO, -N) over the entire IO-week incubation. Net immobilizationwas defined as the decrease in the amount of inorganic Nover the entire IO-we& incubation. Relative nitrification wasdefined as the percent of the total inorganic-N pool comprisedby NO<-N at the end of the incubation period. All statisticalanalyses were performed with SAS-PC r (Statistical AnalysisSystem, SAS Institute Inc.) or with S&tViewr (Brainpower,inc.). The a pnbn’probabihty level accepted to be significantwas <O. 10; however, the probability level for each statisticalanalysis will be given below.


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Total Monoterpene Concentration

RESULTSThe amount of forest floor remaining afier the prescribedburning treatments was significantly less than before treatment(P<O.O03), but varied from 38 to 80 percent (fig. 3). Thelowest amount of mass lost was approximately equal to themass of the L horizon alone as determined in previouscollections (White in press), while the greatest amount ofmass lost was approximately equal to the entire L horizon andabout half of the combined F and H horizons.

Forest Floor Mass



1 2000 CA Pre Massm P o s t - M a s s

ziIL 1000

f(P 5 0.003)


I 2 3 4P L O T

Fig. 3. Ash-free forest floor mass before (Pre-Mass) andafter (Post-Mass) prescribed burning. Probability level forthe comparison of prebum and postbum mass is shown


Total monoterpene concentration in the postbum forest floordeclined in 3 of the 4 plots and increased in the plot with thesmallest loss of mass (fig. 4). When expressed on an areabasis, the total amount of monoterpene declined in all plots(P=O.O67, fig. 5). Monoterpene content of the postbumforest floor was a frmction of the fraction of original forest-floor mass (2=0.993, P < 0.01; fig. 6). The bumtreatments reduced the content of some monoterpcnes to agreater extent than others. Monoterpenes with a double-bonded carbon atom in a terminal position on the molecule(including camphene, b-pincne, sabinene, Iimonene, myrcene,and limoncne oxide; fig. 7) and monocyclic monoterpencs(including p-cymene, a-phellandrene, limonene, and g-terpinene; fig. 8) were reduced to very low or undetectablelevels, even in the plot that lost the least amount of forestfloor (plot 1).

The bum treatments significantly increased the amount ofinorganic N in the forest floor (P=O.O12; fig. P), with all theincrease due to higher NH,‘-N content and no change in NO,’-N content. The amount of inorganic N in the mineral soilwas unchanged by the bum treatment (P=O.91; fig. 10).Measurement of potential N mineralization and nitriticationfor the prebumed forest floor showed net immobilization ofinorganic N and no net nitritication (net decline in inorganic



i 0 Preburn50

i Postburn


(P : 0.165)25


0I 2 3 4


Fig. 4. Total monoterpenc concentration of the 0 horizonbefore (Preburn) and aRer (Postbum) prescribed burning.Probability level for the comparison of prebum and postbumconcentrations is shown (n=4).

Total Monoterpenes per Unit AreaM)O,




q Preburn

0 Postburn

P : 0.067)

0I 2 3 4


Fig. 5. Total monoterpene content of the combined organicand 0- to IO-cm mineral soil horizons before (Pre-bum) andafter (Postbum) prescribed burning. Probability level for thecomparison of prebum and postbum content is shown (n=4).

Relationship Between MonoterpeneContent and Consumption of Forest Floor

ol , . , . , , 10.3 0 . 4 0 . 5 0 . 6 0 . 7 0 . 6

F r a c t i o n o f Original Fo res t - f l oo r Mass

Fig. 6 Relationship between monoterpene content of thecombined postbum organic and 0- to lo-cm mineral soilhorizons and the amount of consumption (expressed as theremaining fraction of original forest-floor mass) by theprescribed burning.


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Terminal C=C Bond Monoterpenes per Unit A r e a

Cl Preburnm Poslburn

(P = 0.006)

2 3 4PLOT

Fig. 7. Content of monoterpencs that contain terminalunsaturated carbon-carbon bonds for the combined organicand 0- to lo-cm mineral soil horizons before (Prebum) andafter (Postbum) prescribed burning. Probability level for thecomparison of prcbum and postbum content is shown (n=4).

Monocyclic Monoterpenes per Unit Area

2 0N


E”1 5

c 10 c] Prebum

itn Postburn

2 5

z(P : 0.045)

0I 2 3 I


Fig. 8. Content of monocyclic monoterpcnes for thecombined organic and 0- to IO-cm mineral soil horizonsbefore (Prcbum) and after (Posthum) prescribed burning.Probability level for the comparison of prebum and postbumcontent is shown (n =4).

Extractable Inorganic N p e r Unit Area5 0 0 ,


‘E 400



5 2 0 0

P 100 (P : 0.012)

I 2 3


Fig. 9. Extractable inorganic N content of the 0 horizonbefore (Prebum) and alter (Postbum) prescribed burning.Probability level for the comparison of prebum and postbumcontent is shown (n =4).

N, shown by comparison of prebum values in figures 9 and11). Although the burned forest floor showed the same basic

pattern of net immobilization (difference in postburn values infigures 9 and 1 l), the potential N mineralization andnitrilication pattern for the burned forest floor substantiallydeviated from the pattern shown by the pre-burned forestfloor in two ways. First, net inorganic N levels in the burnedforest floor began to increase rapidly over the final 3 weeksof incubation (fig. 12), whereas the pre-burned forest floorshowed very little increase over the same period. Second,forest floor samples from all of the burned plots producedNO;-N during the IO-week incubation, whereas all of samplesfrom the pre-burned plots showed no detectable amount ofNO;-N after the IO-week incubation. When the amount ofNO;-N present at the end of incubation in the four burnedforest floor samples was compared with the amount in theprcbumcd samples (none in all 4 prcbumed), the differencewas not statistically significant (P=O. 18). In part, the lack ofsignificance was due to the large variation in the amount ofNO;-N produced by the burned forest floors. The plot thathad the greatest reduction in forest-floor mass (plot 4)produced the most NO,-N, but NOs-N production was notsignificantly correlated (P > 0.10) either with forest floorconsumption or with the amount of NH,‘-N present in thesample (representing substrate for nitrilication; fig. 13).

DISCUSSIONThe plots burned in the present study were the control plotsfor a previous study (White 1986a) on the effects ofprescribed burning in ponderosa pine. In the previous study,there was a greater range in prebum biomass (from 1650 to3590 g rn-’ ash-free weight) and in the amount of forest floorconsumed by the bum (from 150 to 2070 g m.2). Theprescribed burning treatments were conducted under similarconditions (same prescription in both studies) and had similarcharacteristics, and therefore had very similar effects on soilinorganic N levels. In both studies, the increase in forest-floor inorganic N was proportional to the amount of forestfloor consumed, with all the increase as NH,‘-N. Thisrelationship was highly significant in the first bum (rr=0.97,P<O.Ol; White 1986a), where the range in forest floorconsumption was greater, but was not as strong in the currentstudy ($=0.‘78). Burning did not significantly changemineral soil inorganic N levels in either study, except in theplot where consumption of forest floor was greatest (White1986a). Potential N mineralization and nitrilication in themineral soil was unchanged in both studies.

Prescribed burning reduced weight of monoterpenesproportionally more than it reduced forest-floor mass.Removal of the upper organic horizon with the highestmonoterpene concentration could explain a large portion ofthe decline, but monoterpene concentrations after burningwere even lower than those measured in pm-burned F-H


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Total Extractable inorganic NMineral Soil

El Prebum

n Postburn

(P I 0.91)

1 2 3 4PLOT

Fig. 10. Extractable inorganic N content of the 0- to IO-cmmineral soil horizon before (Prebum) and after (Postbum)prescribed burning. Probability level for the comparison ofprebum and postbum content is shown (n=4).

Extractable inorganic N after Incubat ion

q Ptebum

n Poslbum

(P : 0.056)

I 2 3 4


Fig. 11. Extractable inorganic N content of the 0 horizonbefore (Prebum) and aRer (Postbum) prescribed burning atthe end of IO-week aerobic incubation for potential Nmineralization. Probability level for the comparison ofprcbum and postbum content is shown (n=4).

Extractable Inorganic N During incubationForest Floor

N "1 Preburn




0i 4 6 6 *0


- Nitra te

--o--- SumN


---+-- Ni t ra te- SumN

Extractable Inorganic N after Incubation

q Nitrate

(P x 0.18)

n Ammonium+ Nitrate

(P 5 0.056)

1 2 3 4


Fig. 13. Extractable nitrate and ammonium + nitratecontent of the postbum 0 horizon at the end of IO-weekaerobic incubation for potential N mineralization. Probabilitylevel for the comparison of prebum and postbum nitrate andammonium + nitrate content is shown (n=4).

horizons in 4 other collections before the bum (White INPRESS). The lower-than-expected concentrations suggestthat monoterpcnes were volatilized and probably cornbusted.The relationship between monoterpene concentration andresidual forest-floor mass (fig. 6) suggests that reduction inforest-floor fuels by 50 percent can reduce monoterpcnes byover 90 percent. Removal of monotcrpenes would reduce theprobability of fire and enhance the potential for higher ratesof N mineralization and nitrilication. White (1986a) observedincreased rates of N mineralization in the forest floor andmineral soil in bumed plots 10 months after treatment. Ifburning that reduces forest-floor mass by 50 percent resuits inincreased soil moisture as in other studies in ponderosa pine(Haase 1986, Ryan 1978), field conditions will become morefavorable for N mineralization. Thus, bums that consumehalf of the forest floor could increase site fertilitysignificantly.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSI thank Co&en Wyss for her valuable assistance throughoutthis project, but especially for the monoterpene analyses.Two reviewers and a technical editor provided helpfulcomments. Tony Tanuz and Ken Seonia of the Jemez RangerDistrict performed the prescribed burning. Funds for thisproject were provided by the National Science Foundation( B S R - 8 7 1 7 5 1 4 ) .

Fig. 12. Mean values (n-4) of extractable nitrate andammonium + nitrate (Sum N) content of the 0 horizonbefore (Prcbum) and aRcr (Postbum) prescribed burning atw&ly intcrvajs during aerobic incubation at 20 “C.


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L I T E R A T U R E C I T E DCovington, W.W., and S.S. Sackett. 1984. The effect of a

prescribed bum in Southwestern ponderosa pine onorganic matter and nutrients in woody debris and forestfloor. Forest Science 30:183-192.

Covington, W.W., and S.S. Sackett. 1986. Effect ofperiodic burning on soil itrogen concentrations inponderosa pine. Soil Science Society of America Journal50:452-457.

Harris, G.R., and W.W. Covington. 1983. The effect of aprescribed tire on nutrient concentration and standing cropof understory vegetation in ponderosa pine. CanadianJournal of Forest Research 13:501-507.

Haase, S.M. 1986. Effect of prescribed burning on soilmoisture and germination of Southwestern ponderosa pineseed on basaltic soils. U.S.D.A. Forest Service ResearchNote RM-462, 6 p.

Jones, J.M., and B.N. Richards. 1977. Effect ofreforestation on turnover of “N-labelled nitrate andammonium in relation to changes in soil microflora. SoilBiology & Biochemistry 9:383-392.

Klemmedson, J.O., A.M. Schultz, H. Jenny, and H.H.Biswell. 1962. Effect of prescribed burning of forestlitter on total soil nitrogen. Soil Science Society ofAmerica Proceedings 26:2(X)-202.

Kovacic, D.A., D.M. Swift, J.E. Ellis, and T.E. Hakonson.1986. Immediate effects of prescribed burning on mineralsoil nitrogen in ponderosa pine of New Mexico. SoilScience 141(1):71-76.

Ryan, M.G. 1978. The effect of prescribed burning inponderosa pine on the inorganic nitrogen content of thesoil. M.S. thesis, 64 p. Northern Arizona University,Flagstaff, AZ.

Ryan, M.G., and W.W. Covington. 1986. Effect of aprescribed bum in ponderosa pine on inorganic nitrogenconcentrations of mineral soil. U.S.D.A. Forest ServiceResearch Note RM-464, 5 p.

Vlamis, J., H.H. Biswell, and A.M. Schultz. 1955. Effectsof prescribed burning on soil fertility in second growthponderosa pine. Journal of Forestry 53:905-909.

White, C.S. 1986a. Effects of prescribed fire on rates ofdecomposition and nitrogen mineralization in a ponderosapine ecosystem. Biology and Fertility of Soils 2:87-95.

White, C.S. 1986b. Volatile and water-soluble inhibitors ofnitrogen mineralization and nitrification in a ponderosapine ecosystem. Biology and Fertility of Soils 2:97-104.

White, C.S. 1991. The role of monoterpenes in soil nitrogencycling processes. Biogeochemistry IN PRESS.

White, C.S., and M.J. McDonnell. 1988. Nitrogen cyclingprocesses and soil characteristics in an urban versus ruralforest. Biogeochemistry 5:243-262.

white, E.M., W.W. Thompson, and F.R. Gartner. 1973.Heat effects on nutrient release from soils underponderosa pine. Journal of Range Management 16(1):22-24.

Lodhi, M.A.K., and Keith T. Killingbeck. 1980.Allelopathic inhibition of nitritication and nitrifyingbacteria in a ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Dougl.)community. American Journal of Botany 67(10):1423-1429.


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Lindsay R. Boring, Joseph J. Hendricks, and M. Boyd Edwards’

Abstract-High-intensity site preparation burning is a common forest regeneration practice on harvestedpine and mixed pine-hardwood sites in the southeastern USA. This practice could result in excessive lossesof forest floor organic matter and nitrogen, and could subsequently decrease long-term productivity. Ingeneral, intensive burning may result in large losses of forest floor nitrogen, primarily by combustion andconvection of N gases. However, past studies may have overestimated combustion losses due to inadequateknowledge of potential gaseous N retention mechanisms. Long-term inputs of N from biological tixationand atmospheric deposition may replace large amounts of N lost from tire, but more information on &-fixation processes is needed over time and space. Also, additionai studies are needed to determine practicalN,-fixation management applications, such as retention of coarse woody debris and enhancement of I$-fixing plant populations.

INTRODUCTIONkfigh-intensity site preparation burning is a common andcost-effective regeneration tool on harvested pine and mixedpine-hardwood forest sites in the southeastern United States(Abercrombie and Sims 1986). Few studies havecomprehensively examined the immediate and potentiallong-term impacts of this practice upon site productivity (VanLear and Johnson 1983; Van Lear and Waldrop 1986). Sitepreparation effects are a central concern of many forestmanagers since the technique may alter forest floor organicmalter and nutrient reserves that provide long-term siteproductivity for future stand rotations (Van Lear and others1983).

Although low-intensity prescribed burning has been shown tohave no deleterious effects upon the productivity of loblollypine forests in the southeastern Coastal Plain (McKee 1982),high intensity site-preparation burning could result incxccssivc losses of forest floor organic matter and nitrogen.Several studies have provided gross mass-balance estimates oforganic nitrogen loss in logging residues up to severalhundred kg ha-’ from site-preparation burning (Van Lear andKa@uck 1989). However, few detailed, process-levelstudies have been conducted to examine forest floor nitrogenlosses and the mechanisms of nitrogen loss and retentionduring and following burning (fig. 1; Jorgensen and Wells1986; Little and Ohmann 1988; Van Lear and others 1983).In addition, long-term replacement of nitrogen throughbiological fixation and other inputs has not been adequatelyexamined to assess the potential contributions to the nitrogenbalance of intensively-burned sites (Boring and others 1988,Hendricks 1989).

‘Associate Professor of Forest Ecology, School of Forest Resources,University of Georgia, Athens, GA; Research Technician, School ofForest Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA; PlantEcologist, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Forest Service,U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dry Branch, GA.

In this paper, we summarize the state of knowledgeconcerning key processes regulating N losses, retention, andreplacement associated with intense fire in southeastern pineand mixed pine-hardwood forests, as well as in other relatedecosystems. We synthesize the research results andperspectives from our work, as well as those from otherinvestigators, and identify key areas for further research.

NITROGEN LOSSES AND RETENTIONThere are several mechanisms by which N may be lost duringand following intensive burning, including combustion andconvection of N gases and particulates, leaching of NO,‘ inthe soil solution, denitrification of residual inorganic N, anderosion of organic matter by water and wind (fig. 1).Although each of these mechanisms may pfay a role in theloss of N reserves, past studies suggest that the combustionlosses may exceed the others in importance (Christensen1987; Raison and others 1985; Van Lear and Waldrop 1989).

Intensive burning results in large losses of N by volatilizationand the removal of gases and particulates in wind currents(Jorgensen and Wells 1986). The amount of N lost varies and

depends primarily on the fire severity, which in turn isd&hind by the amount and flammability of organic matter,moisture conditions, and the residence time of the peakthermal pulse. Mass balance estimates based upon loss ofwoody debris and other forest floor fuels have indicated lossesmay range as high as 300 kg ha“ for severe site-preparationfires in the southeastern Piedmont region (Van Lear andKapcluck 1989; Wells and others 1979), and up to 1000 kgha” for intense fires in western Douglas-fir forests (Binkley1986; Little and Ohmann 1988).

Although a considerable amount of the lost N may haveoriginated from the smaller-sized fuels of residual loggingslash and young colonizing vegetation, the potential lossesfrom the original forest floor and soil organic matter mayhave the greatest impact upon N balance and long-term site


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r - - - G A S E O U S N/-NK -

Figure 1. Nitrogen cycling processes and their relationships to losses, retention, and replacement

productivity (Van Lear and Kapeluck 1989). Losses of Nfrom forest floor mass have been estimated to range from 130to 170 kg ha“ (Van Lear and Kapeluck 1989), dependingprimarily upon the severity of the bum, with hotter andslower tires causing greater losses (Knight 1966).

Most N loss from tires is associated with gaseous loss ratherthan particulates (Raison and others 1985). Using controlledignitions in a muffle furnace, volatile loss of N was shown tobegin at approximately 300°C and increase to 60 percent at700°C. Such controlled experiments formerly assumed thatmost of the N was lost as N,, and that it was convected offsitefollowing oxidation (DeBelI and Ralston 1970; Knight 1966).However, other workers have shown that ammonia gases maybe liberated at temperatures as low as lOO”C, and subsequentinformation has revealed more complex processes regulatingthese losses (Raison 1979).

Combustion studies with southern pine litter-soil systems haveshown a complex scenario of N loss, which includessignificant volatilization of NH, and NO, at relatively lowtemperatures (Lewis 1975). Although we now appreciate thecomplexity of N volatilization, we still have few detailed casestudies that accurately document N losses from southern pineand pine-hardwood forests. We also suggest that there maybe retention mechanisms in southern pine forests which havenot been examined by early studies (Lewis 1975; Raison1979).


Some researchers have reported surprisingly variable and lowlosses of N from burned forest floors of different types, andsome of the increases in inorganic N availability have beenattributed to rapid increases in nonsymbiotic N fixation or tothe occurrence of legumes on the sites (Jorgensen and Hodges1970, Mroz and others 1980). Although replacement of Nfrom these sources is known to occur, some of these rapidincreases in inorganic N availability are not explainable bydecomposition and nitrogen fixation since the increases appearimmediately (hours to a day) following burning (Raison1979).

Instead, it is likely that ‘thermal mineralization of organicmatter occurs, where inorganic N is released and retained insignificant amounts in subsurface layers of the mineral soil.Studies in some soil-plant systems have documented elevatedinorganic N immediately following burning as N&-N, NO,-N, and possibly as labile organic compounds. This mayhappen by ammonia hydrolysis and vertical translocation asgases are volatilized by the initial thermal pulse of the tireand are subsequently condensed by cooler temperatures inlower soil mineral horizons (DeBano and others 1976, 1979;Kitur and Frye 1983). Although this process has beenexamined in North American chaparral and in Australianeucalyptus forests, the mechanism has not been documented insouthern pine or pine-hardwood forests.

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Biological transformations related to decomposition andnitrification become more important with time after burning,and play dominant roles in the welldocumented butshort-term (weeks to months after burning) increases ofinorganic N availability in southern pine forests (Christensen1987; Raison 1979; Schoch and Binkley 1986). Themagnitude and duration of such effects may be highly specificto individual forest floor types and bum characteristics,especially as related to initial litter quality and N contents.Mroz and others (1980) found widely variableammonification, nitrification and immobilization responsesamong different forest floor types, and concluded that it wasdifficult to make universal generalizations about microbialprocesses following burning. Although stimulation ofnitrification may be a key burning response in southern forestecosystems, elevation or reduction of microbialimmobilization and gaseous N,O flux also play significantroles in regulating the availability of NO,-N (Christensen1987). Nitrification and gaseous nitrogen transformationsrequire further research and it is not clear to what degree Nretention after burning may be quantitatively affected byeither NO,-N leaching or gaseous losses. Further, theseprocesses likely interact with the recovery rates of microbialand plant nitrogen uptake which may minimize N lossesthrough biomass immobilization.

NITROGEN REPLACEMENTAlthough site-preparation burning may cause large losses offorest floor nitrogen reserves, natural sources of replacementmay help maintain or improve the productivity and quality ofthese forest ecosystems. Two major pathways of nitrogenreplacement are atmospheric deposition and biologicalnitrogen fiation (Boring and others 1988) (fig. 1).Atmospheric deposition includes the input of a variety ofnitrogen-containing compounds by both dry and wet modes.Atmospheric N, may be biologically fixed (and converted toorganic N) by symbiotic and nonsymbiotic organisms. Athorough understanding of the magnitudes of these nitrogeninputs and their impacts on nutrient cycling is incomplete forany single ecosystem. Furthermore, knowledge of thesefundamental processes is essential to accurately assess theimpact of site-preparation burning on the nitrogen balance andlong-term productivity of forest ecosystems.

Atmospheric DepositionA variety of nitrogen forms may be deposited in terrestrialecosystems from the atmosphere (Boring and others 1988).Some of these, such as dissolved NH,+ and NO<, can berapidly incorporated into terrestrial nitrogen cycles followingwet or dry deposition. Other constituents, such as those inaerosol and gaseous forms, may be transferred directly tovegetation surfaces (Okano and Machida 1989). Many factorsthat may affect the spatial and temporal patterns of thesedeposition inputs. One is the proximity to nitrogen sourcessuch as industrial emissions. Also, factors that regulate the

transport and transformation of atmospheric nitrogen forms,such as precipitation patterns and meteorological conditions,are important considerations.

Measurements of alJ of the potential forms of nitrogendeposition are unavailable for any terrestrial ecosystem.However, although conservatively estimated, nitrogen inputsmeasured in bulk precipitation provide some measure of therelative importance of atmospheric deposition to forests.Estimates of wet deposition inputs to southeastern forestecosystems may range from 5.1 to 12.4 kg ha-’ yr” (Kelly andMeagher 1986; Richter and others 1983; Riekerk 1983;Swank and Waide 1987; Van Lear and others 1983; Wellsand Jorgensen 1975). The upper value of this range wasrecorded at Walker Branch in eastern Tennessee which is inclose proximity to coal-fired power plants (Kelly and Meagher1986).

Dry deposition may also contribute significant amounts ofnitrogen to forest ecosystems. The dryfall contribution to thetotal NH,+ and NO; deposited in open collectors exceeds 20percent at Coweeta (Swank and Waide 1987) and exceeds 50percent at the Walker Branch site (Kelly and Meagher 1986).These figures primarily represent large particulate inputs andare not representative of all nitrogen in aerosols and gaseswhich may originate from combustion processes. Combiningboth wet and dry N inputs, general estimates for southeasternforest ecosystems may range from 6 to 14 kg ha-’ yi’excluding aerosol and gas fractions which may also be high(fig. 2).

Nitrogen FixationIn southeastern forest ecosystems, detectable nitrogen-fixationactivity may occur in the forest floor and surface mineral soilhorizons, coarse woody debris (CWD) on the forest floor, andthe, nodules of symbiotic nitrogen-fling plants. In general,the fixation rates of symbiotic organisms are greatest duringthe early successional stages of forest development (Boringand Swank 1984; Boring and others 1988). The harvesting ofmerchantable timber, followed by the felling of residual stemsand intense site-preparation burning creates an earlysuccessional environment and may therefore promotedetectable, if not significant, nitrogen-fixation activity amonga variety of organisms.

Forest Floor and SoilClearcutting may increase nonsymbiotic nitrogen-fixation inthe forest floor (excluding CWD) and soil through the transferof large carbon pools in the form of dead roots and smallfractions of logging debris (Boring and others 1988). At theCoweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, maximum fixation rates of4-6 kg ha-’ yi’ were measured three to tive years followingclearcutting (Waide and others 1987). These high rates arelikely to be short-lived, however, due to the sensitivity ofnitrogen-futing bacterial populations to substrate quality,moisture, temperature, and pH (Jorgensen and Wells 1986;


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-i- 20e



-i - - F R E E - L I V I N G Nt-FIXATION











Figure 2. Range of temporal dynamics of nitrogen replacement in relation to forest succession;based upon studies of sites with at least moderate N-fixing plant populations.

Vance and others 1983). Most estimates of nonsymbioticfutation in southeastern temperate coniferous and deciduousforest are much smaller and range from 0.1 to 3.7 kg ha-’ yri(Di Stefano and Gholz 1989; Gholz and others 1985; Grantand Binkley 1987; Jorgensen and Wells 1986; Van Lear andothers 1983).

There appears to be a paucity of information concerning theeffect of intense site-preparation burning on nonsymbioticforest floor and soil nitrogen fixation. However, research onthe effects of less intense understory burning on this form offixation have been contradictory. Maggs and Hewett (1986)reported a three-fold increase in nitrogen-fixation activityfollowing understory burning, whereas Vance and others(1983) and DiStefano and Gholz (1989) reported little or noresponse to burning. Even given these conflicting results, itis generally assumed that such low nonsymbiotic fiationactivity in the forest floor and soil will not make a significantcontribution to the replacement of nitrogen following intensesite-preparation burning.

Coarse Woody DebrisSilvicultural clearcutting of southeastern forests may depositfrom 15 to 50 tons ha-’ of non-harvestable coarse woodydebris (CWD) to a site (Sanders and Van Lear 1988). Themajority of this CWD remains on the site following burningsince even the most intense fires generally consume stemsonly up to 10 centimeters in diameter. This CWD may play asignificant nitrogen replacement role by serving as a carbonsubstrate for a highly diverse group of nonsymbiotic nitrogen-feting organisms, as well as for wood-eating insects that formsymbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fling gut bacteria(Dawson 1983; Roskoski 1980; Silvester and others 1982).

Research conducted in old-growth Douglas-fu stands of thePacific Northwest has revealed that nonsymbiotic furationrates in large masses of well-decomposed wood by suchorganisms as bacteria, fungi, blue-green algae, and lichensmay reach 1.4 kg ha-’ yi’ (Silvester and others 1982). In anorthern hardwood forest at the Hubbard Brook ExperimentalForest, comparable annual nitrogen fixation rates in decayingwood ranged from 0 to 2 kg ha-’ yi’, with the rates beingdirectly correlated to the standing crop of decaying wood(Roskoski 1980, 1981). Although the nitrogen replacementrole of CWD in southeastern forest ecosystems is less wellunderstood, Todd and others (1975, 1978) reported values of1.22 to 1.66 kg ha-’ yr-i for an oak hickory forest at Coweetaand DiStefano and Gholz (1989) measured high specific ratesin low masses of decomposing wood of slash pine plantationsin North Florida.

It is important to note that these area estimates of non-symbiotic nitrogen futation are a function of CWD biomass aswell as actual rates of fixation activity. Also, Silvester andothers (1982) suggested that fixation rates generally increaseas the CWD, which may remain on the site for several years,becomes more highly decomposed. Therefore, nonsymbioticfixers (even with low specilic activity) in the abundant CWDof southeastern clearcut sites may Potentially contributesignificant amounts of nitrogen during the decompositionprocess of the debris.

As stated earlier, CWD serves as a substrate for wood-eatingfauna such as termites, bark beetles, and co*ckroaches, whichmay contain nitrogen-f&g bacteria in their gut (Dawson1983; French and others 1976; Potrikus and Breznak 1977).Among these organisms, the process of nitrogen fmation hasbeen best established for temperate and Siopical termites


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(Bentlcy 1984; Prestwich and others 1980). Due to numerousdifliculties preventing accurate measurements, nitrogenfixation values for termites have not been related to nitrogen-balance estimates, although their contribution could besigniiicanl on some forest sites.

lligher PlantsSymbiotic nitrogen-fixing plants commonly occur on siteswhere nitrogen is limiting, early successional areas, or sitessubject to substantial N loss, such as from intense and/orfrequent fires (Boring and others 1988). In southeasternforest ecosystems, fire-adapted native herbaceous legumesgenerally thrive during the first few years followingclearcutting and intense site-preparation burning (Cushwa andothers 1969; Czuhai and Cushwa 1968).

Legume populations are typically largest during early stagesof stand development for a number of reasons. The seed ofseveral legumes have their highest germination rates followingscarification with moist heat at temperatures approaching 80”C (Cushwa and others 1968, 1970). Also, it is believed thatthese seeds remain viable in the litter layer and soil forprolonged periods of time. Finally, these fire-adapted, earlysuccessional species thrive under the high light environmentof pine stands prior to crown closure (Brunswig and Johnson1972; Cushwa and others 1971).

Nitrogen furation rates of these herbaceous legumes arepredicted to be highest during this early stage of standdevelopment (fig. 2). The absence of a developed overstoryand the reduced competition from non-fire adapted speciesshould result in larger quantities of photosynthate available forthe energetically expensive nitrogen fixation process.Hendricks (1989) assessed the nitrogen fiiation activity ofthree dominant legume species (Desmodium viridiflorum,Lemedeza hirta, and L. procumbens) in a cleared and burnedarea of a Georgia Piedmont pine forest. In the early tomiddle part of the growing season, Q. viridiflorum and L.procumbens exhibited specific acetylene reduction activity pernodule biomass comparable to those of black locust, Robiniapseudoacacia (Boring and Swank 1984), and greater thanthose of many actinorhizal nitrogen-fixing species, althoughtotal nodule biomass was considerably lower (Binkley 1981;McNabb and Geist 1979; Tripp and others 1979). Thisnodule activity, however, declined substantially during theremainder of the hot and dry growing season, and the thirdspecies L. hirta was rarely observed to nodulate.

The total amount of nitrogen fixed by herbaceous legumes onthese Georgia Piedmont sites was roughly estimated to rangefrom <OS kg N ha” yi’ for areas with small legumepopulations (500 - 700 individuals ha”) to 7 - 9 kg N ha-’ yi’for areas with relatively large populations (20,000 - 30,000individuals ha-‘; Hendricks 1989). These values representbroad ranges of estimates and illustrate the potentialimportance that factors controlling the spatial and temporal

variation of legume populations may have on forest floor andsoil nitrogen reserves. Sites with larger legume populationsthan ours may have substantially more nitrogen fixation.

The spatial variation of herbaceous legumes depends uponmany factors including the fire-history of the site. Table 1gives the results of a legume population survey for twosimilar Georgia Piedmont sites that were cleared and burnedfollowing southern pine beetle infestation. These sites, whichwere sampled two years following the intensive bum, differedprimarily in their fire history as one had no previous burningand the other had received periodic winter understory bumssince 1962. The site that had been managed under a burningregime had a substantially higher diversity and density of

Table 1. Density (#/ha) of native and naturalizedherbaceoup tegune species on cleared ar@ burned sitesin the Georgia Piedmont. Site 1 had no previousburning history, uhereas site 2 has been managed undera 4 year burning regime since 1962



Cassia nictitans

Centrosema virginianun

Crotelaria sagittalis


ci 1 i-are



rotundifoliun“. ..-.$enuifoliun


Other spp.








Other spp.



1 2

1 2










3 8 1

1 4 3



















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legumes due primarily to increases in species of Destnodiumand Lesoedeza (table 1). Although these data only representtwo sites, other reports also underscore the importance ofregular burning to generate a cycle of high seed germinationand plant establishment rates (Cushwa and others 1966, 1969,1970; Czuhai and Cushwa 1968; Devet and Hopkins 1967;Speake 1966).

Brunswig and Johnson (1972) studied the temporal variationof legume populations in southeastern pine plantations duringthe first seven years following intense site-preparation. Theresults indicated that annuals, primarily C. nictitans, were thepredominant legumes in one-year old plantations. By thethird year, perennial legumes (primarily species ofDesmodium and Lesoedeza) were more abundant thanannuals. In older stands, the annuals were essentiallyeliminated and the perennials decreased substantially due tocrown closure. However, in latter stages of standdevelopment when light gaps appear and understory burningis commonly initiated, legumes may still influence nitrogenavailability via the temporal dispersal of a viable seed bank.

Approximately 300 native legumes occur in the southeasternUnited States (Wilbur 1963). A majority of these areherbaceous legumes that are tolerant of acidic soils, shading,and litter accumulation on the forest floor, and commonlyoccur in pine and mixed pine-hardwood forest ecosystems.Although the value of these legumes to wildlife has long beenrecognized, their nitrogen accretion role as well as theircontribution to functional biodiversity are just beginning to berecognized in southeastern forest ecosystems.

SUMMARY AND RESEARCH NEEDSOur present knowledge of the impacts of intensive fire uponecosystem nitrogen cycling processes and long-termproductivity in southern forests is incomplete, and many keyquestions require additional research. We generally knowthat large amounts of forest floor nitrogen are lost with severebums, and that long-term replacement sources may bepotentially significant but variable. However, in the past wemay have overestimated N volatilization on some sites by notexamining potential retention processes in humus and mineralsoil horizons below the litter. Simultaneously we have notexamined the potential for additional and smaller short-termgaseous losses via NsO flux from residual inorganic Nfollowing burning, or examined the interactions ofimmobilization by microbial or plant biomass withnitritication and gaseous N flux (Matson and Vitousek 1987).

Our interpretation of intensive fire effects upon long-term Nbalance is uncertain until we better understand howadequately nitrogen fixation processes replace N losses overtime and space. We need to better understand how to moreeffectively manage nitrogen fixation inputs. More effectivemanagement may require retention of coarse woody debris,increased populations of nitrogen-fixing plants, andmodification of environmental factors that control theirfutation rates (e.g. P fertilization). A more completeunderstanding of these processes and their potentialmanagement need to be integrated into a whole-ecosystemperspective, possibly with the use of simulation models, tobetter interpret their impacts upon long-term N balance andforest productivity over several stand rotations.


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LITERATURE CITEDAbercrombie, J.A.; Sims, D.A. 1986. Fell and bum for

low-cost site preparation. Forest Farmer 46(1):14-17.

Bentley, B.L. 1984. Nitrogen futation in termites: fate ofnewly futed nitrogen. Journal of Insect Physiology30:653-655.

Binkley, D. 1981. Nodule biomass and acetylene reductionrates of red alder and Sitka alder on Vancouver Island,B.C. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 11:281-286.

Binkley, D. 1986. Forest nutrition management. John Wileyand Sons, Inc., New York.

Boring, L.R.; Swank, W.T. 1984. Symbiotic nitrogen fixationin regenerating black locust stands. Forest Science30(2):528-537.

Boring, L.R.; Swank W.T.; Waide J.B.; Henderson G.S.1988. Sources fates, and impacts of nitrogen inputs toterrestrial ecosystems: a review and synthesis.Biogeochemistry 6:119-159.

Brunswig, N.L.; Johnson, A.S. 1972. Bobwhite quail foodsand quail populations on pine plantations in the GeorgiaPiedmont during the first seven years following sitepreparation. Proceedings of the Southeastern Associationof Game and Fish Commissioners 26:96-107.

Christensen, N.L. 1987. The biogeochemical consequences offire and their effects on the vegetation of the Coastal Plainof the southeastern United States. In: The Role of Fire inEcological Systems. SPB Academic Publishing, TheHague, The Netherlands.

Cushwa, C.T.; Brender, E.V.; Cooper, R.W. 1966. Theresponese of herbaceous vegetation to prescribed burning.Research Note SE-53. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service, Southeastern ForestExperiment Station.

Cushwa, C.T.; Martin, R.E.; Miller, R.L. 1968. The effectsof fire on seed germination. Journal of RangeMana,gement 21:250-254.

Cushwa, CT.; Czuhai, E.; Cooper, R.W.; Julian, W.H.1969. Burning clearcut openings in loblolly pine toimprove wildlife habitat. Georgia Forestry ResearchCouncil Research Paper 61.

Cushwa, C.T.; Hopkins, M.; McGinnes, B.S. 1970.Response of legumes to prescribed bums in loblolly pinestands of the South Carolina Piedmont. Research NoteSE-140. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station.

Cushwa, C.T.; Martin, R.E.; Hopkins, M.L. 1971.Management of bobwhite quail habitat in pine forests ofthe Atlantic Piedmont. Georgia Forest Research CouncilResearch Paper 65.

Czuhai, E.; Cushwa, C.T. 1968. A resume of prescribedburning on the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge.Research Note SE-86. U.S. Department of Agriculture,Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station.

DeBano, L.F.; Savage S.M.; Hamilton, D.A. 1976. Thetransfer of heat and hydrophobic substances dyringburning. Soil Science Society of America Journal40:779-782.

DeBano, L.F.; Eberlein, G.E.; Dunn, P.H. 1979. Effects ofburning on chaparral soils: soil nitrogen. Soil ScienceSociety of America Journal 43504-509.

DeBelI, D.S.; Ralston, C.W. 1970. Release of nitrogen byburning light forest fuels. Soil Science Society ofAmerica Journal 34:936-938.

DiStefano, J. 1984. Nitrogen mineralization and non-symbiotic nitrogen fixation in an age sequence of slashpine plantations in North Florida. Ph.D. dissertation.University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.

DiStefano, J.F.; Gholz, H.L. 1989. Nonsymbiotic biologicaldinitrogen fixation (acetylene reduction) in an agesequence of slash pine plantations in North Florida(USA). Forest Science 35(3):863-869.

Dawson, J.O. 1983. Dinitrogen fixation in forest ecosystems.Canadian Journal of Microbiology 29(8):979-992.

Devet, D.D.; Hopkins, M.L. 1967. Response of wildlifehabitat to the prescribed burning program on the nationalforests in South Carolina. Proceedings of the SouteastemAssociation Game and Fish Commissioners 21:129-133.

French, J .R.J.; Turner, G.L.; Bradbury, J.F. 1976. Nitrogenfixation by bacteria from the hindgut of termites. Journalof General Microbiology 95:202-206.

Gholz, H.L.; Fisher, R.F.; Pritchett, W.L. 1985. Nutrientdynamics in slash pine plantation ecosystems. Ecology66:647-659

Grant, D.; Binkley, D. 1987. Rates of free.-living nitrogenfixation in some Piedmont forest types. Forest Science33(2):548-551.

Hendricks, J.J. 1989. Nitrogen fixation and Jitter quality ofunderstory legumes in a burned pine forest of the GeorgiaPiedmont. M.S. Thesis, University of Georgia, Athens,GA.


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Jorgensen, J.R.; Hodges, C.S. 1970. Microbial characteristicsof a forest soil after twenty years of prescribed burning.Mycologia 62:721-726.

Jorgensen, J.R.; Wells, C.G. 1986. Forester’s primer innutrient cycling: a loblolly pine management guide.General Technical Report SE-37. Asheville, NC: U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, SoutheasternForest Experiment Station.

Kelly, J.M.; Meagher, J.F. 1986. Nitrogen input/outputrelationships for three forested watersheds in easternTennessee. In: Correll D.L., ed. Watershed ResearchPerspectives. Smithsonian Press, Washington, D.C.

Kitur, B.K.; Frye, W.W. 1983. Effects of heating on soilchemical properties and growth and nutrient compositionof corn and millet. Soil Science Society of AmericaJournal 47:91-94.

Knight, H. 1966. Loss of nitrogen from the forest floor byburning. Forestry Chronicle 42:149-152.

ILewis, W.M. 1975. Effects of forest fires on atmospheric

loads of soluble nutrients In: Howell, F.G.; Gentry, J.B.;Smith, M.H., eds. Mineral Cycling in SoutheasternEcosystems. U.S. Energy Research and DevelopmentAdministration Symposium CONF-740513, NationalTechnical Information Service, Springfield, VA.

Little, S.; Ohmann, J. 1988. Estimating nitrogen lost fromforest floor during prescribed fires in Douglas-fir/westernhemlock clearcuts. Forest Science 34:152-164.

[i McKee, W.H. 1982. Changes in soil fertility following11 prescribed burning on coastal plain sites. Research Paper1 SE-234. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,

Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station.

McNabb, D.H.; Geist, J.M. 1979. Acetylene reduction assayof symbiotic N, futation under field conditions. Ecology60:1070-1072.

Matson, P.A.; Vitousek, P.M. 1987. Cross-systemcomparison of soil nitrogen transformations and nitrousoxide flux in tropical forest ecosystems. GlobalBiogeochemicai Cycles 1(2):163-170.

Maggs, J.; Hewett, R.K. 1986. Nitrogenase activity (C,H,reduction) in the forest floor of a Pinus elliottii plantationfollowing super-phosphate addition and prescribed burning.Forest Ecology and Management 14:91-101.

Mroz, G.D.; Jurgensen, M.F.; Harvey, A.E.; Larsen, M.J.1980. Effects of fire on nitrogen in forest floor horizons.Soil Science Society of America Journal 44:395-400.

Okano, K.; Machida T. 1989. Differences in ability of NO,absorption in various broad-leaved tree species.Environmental Pollution 58: 1-17.

Potrikus, C.J.; Breznak, J.A. 1977. Nitrogen-fixingEnterobacter aelomerans isolated from guts of wood-eating termites. Applied and Environmental Microbiology33:392-399.

Prestwich, G.D.; Bentley, B.L.; Carpenter, E.J. 1980.Nitrogen sources for neotropical nasute termites: furationand selective foraging. Oecologia 46:397-401.

Raison, R.J. 1979. Modification of the soil environment byvegetation fires, with particular reference to nitrogentransformations: a review. Plant and Soil 51:73-108.

Raison, R.J.; Khanna, P.K.; Woods, P.V. 1985. Mechanismsof element transfer to the atmosphere during vegetationfires. Canadian Journal of Forestry Research 15:132-140.

Richter, D.D.; Ralston, C.W.; Harms, W.R. 1983. Chemicalcomposition and spatial variation of bulk precipitation at acoastal plain watershed in South Carolina. WaterResources Research 19(1):134-140.

Riekerk, H. 1983. Environmental impacts of intensivesilviculture in Florida. pp. 264-271. In: Ballard, R.;Gessel, S.P. eds. General Technical Report PNW-163.Symposium on Forest Site and Continuous productivity.Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, ForestService, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range ExperimentStation.

Roskoski, J.P. 1980. Nitrogen fixation in hardwood forests ofthe northeastern United States. Plant and Soil 54:33-44.

Roskoski, J.P. 1981. Comparative (;H, reduction and “N,futation in deciduous wood litter. Soil Biology andBiochemistry 13:83-85.

Sanders, B.M.; Van Lear, D.H. 1988. Photos for estimatingresidue loadings before and after burning in southernAppalachian mixed pine-hardwood clearcuts. GeneralTechnical Report SE-49. Asheville, NC: U.S. Departmentof Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern ForestExperiment Station.

Schoch, P.; Binkley, D. 1986. Prescribed burning increasednitrogen availability in a mature 1obloUy pine stand.Forest Ecology and Management 14:13-22.

Silvester, W.B.; Sollins, P.; Verhoeven, T.; Cline, S.P.1982. Nitrogen fixation and acetylen reduction indecaying conifer boles: effects of incubation time,aeration, and moisture content. Canadian Journal of

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Speake, D.W. 1966. Effects of controlled burning onbobwhite quail populations and habitat of an experimentalarea in the Alabama Piedmont. Proceedings of theSoutheastern Association of Game and FishCommissioners 20: 19-32.

Swank, W.T.; Waide, J.B. 1987. Characterization of baselineprecipitation and stream chemistry and nutrient budgetsfor control watersheds. In: Swank, W.T.; Crossley, D.A.eds. Forest Hydrology and Ecology at Cow&a. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Todd, R.L.; Waide, J.B.; Comaby, B.W. 1975. Significanceof biological nitrogen fixation and denitritication in adeciduous forest ecosystem. In: Howell, F.G.; Gentry,J.B.; Smith, M.H. eds. Mineral Cycling in SoutheasternForest Ecosystems. U.S. Energy Research andDevelopment Administration Symposium CONF-740513,National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA.

Todd, R.L.; Meyer, R.D.; Waide, J.B. 1978. Nitrogenfixation in a deciduous forest in the southeastern UnitedStates. In: Granhall, V. ed. Environmental Role ofNitrogen-Fixing Blue-Green Algae and AsymbioticBacteria. Ecological Bulletin 26:172-177.

Tripp, L.N.; Bezdicek, D.F.; Heilman, P.E. 1979. Seasonaland diurnal patterns and rates of nitrogen fixation byyoung red alder. Forest Science 25:371-380.

Van Lear, D.H.; Johnson, V.J. 1983. Effects of prescribedburning in the southern Appalachian and upper Piedmontforests: a review. Clemson University Forestry BulletinNo. 36.

Van Lear, D.H.; Kapeluck, P.R. 1989. Fell and bum toregenerate mixed pine-hardwood stands: an overview ofeffects on soil. In: T.A. Waldrop ed. Proceedings ofPine-Hardwood Mixtures: A Symposium on Managementand Ecology of the Type. General Technical Report SE-58. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station.

Van Lear, D.H.; Swank, W.T.; Douglass, J.E.; Waide, J.B.1983. Forest management practices and the nutrient status

of a loblolly pine plantation. pp. 252-258. In: Ballard, R.;Gessel, S.P. eds. General Technical Report PNW-163.Symposium on Forest Site and Continuous Productivity.Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, ForestService, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range ExperimentStation.

Van Lear, D.H.; Waldrop, T.A. 1986. Current practices andrecent advances in prescribed burning. In: SouthernForestry Symposium, Atlanta, GA.

Van Lear, D.H.; Waldrop, T.A. 1989. History, uses andeffects of Iire in the Appalachians. General TechnicalReport SE-54. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service, Southeastern ForestExperiment Station. SE-54.

Vance, E.D.; Henderson, G.S.; Blevins, D.G. 1983.Nonsymbiotic nitrogen fixation in an oak-hickory forestfollowing long-term prescribed burning. Soil ScienceSociety of America Journal 47:134-137.

Waide, J.B.; Todd, R.L.; Caskey, W.H.; Swank, W.T.;Boring, L.R. 1987. Changes in soil nitrogen pools andtransformations following forest clearcutting in southernAppalachians. In: Swank, W.T.; Crossley D.A. eds.Forest Hydrology and Ecology at Coweeta. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Wells, C.G.; Jorgensen, J.R. 197.5. Nutrient cycling inloblolly pine plantations. pp. 137-158. In: Bemier, B.;Winget, C.H. eds. Forest Soils and Land Management.Proceedings of the Fourth North American Forest SoilsConference. Les Presses de L’Universite Laval, Laval,Quebec, Canada.

Wells, C.G.; Campbell, R.E.; DeBano, L.F., Lewis, C.E.;Fredriksen, R.L.; Franklin, E.C., Froelich, R.C., Dunn,P.H. 1979. Effects of Fire on Soil: A State of KnowledgeReview. General Technical Report WO-7. U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.

Wilbur, R.L. 1963. The Leguminous Plants of NorthCarolina. Technical Bulletin Number 151. North CarolinaAgricultural Experiment Station.


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Jeffrey M. Klopatek, Carole Coe Klopatek,and Leonard F. DeBano’

Abstract-The total pools of carbon and nitrogen in the liner, duff, and soil compartments were quantifiedin a mature pinyon-juniper woodland. One hectare of the woodland was burned in a fire similar to a severewildfire, where almost all aboveground vegetation was killed. Soil temperatures reached as high as 325” Ca1 5 cm below the soil surface. The total nutrient pools were again quantitied after fire indicatingsignificant losses of both C and N from forest floor material. The litter loss of C was as high as 92 percentand N loss was as high as 88 percent. Loss of C from the duff layer was estimated from 78-80 percent,while nitrogen loss was 75 percent. Soil N displayed a slight, significant increase under canopy, but not inthe interspaces. The greatest initial effect was the reduction of the C/N ratios favoring mineralization. Thetotal amount of C and N lost from the woodland was 12.6 Mg ha” C and 167 kg ha-’ N.

INTRODUCTIONPinyon-juniper woodlands occupy a significant expanse of thesemiarid United States (Klopatek and others 1979). They arecharacterized by extreme variability in climate, soil, andtopography that produces units of canopy-covered and non-canopy covered (interspace) patches. Therefore, a seeminglyuniform disturbance, such as fire, to this patchy mosaicecosystem type may result in complex, non-uniformresponses. Despite the expansiveness of the pinyon-juniperwoodlands and their susceptibility to fire, studies of fireeffects in pinyon-juniper woodlands have only been recent andlimited (DeBano and others 1987; DeBano and Klopatek1988; Gifford 1981; Klopatek and others 1988).

Studies on the effects of fire upon soil nutrients, andspecifically soil N, have produced conflicting results. Someinvestigators have reported no significant changes in total soilN contents (Covington and Sackett 1986; Jurgensen andothers 1981; Kovacic and others 1986; White 1986).Waldrop and others (1987) found no changes in either soilorganic matter or total N after 30 years of various prescribedburning treatments in loblolly pine.

Stock and Lewis (1986) reported significant increases in Nthat were due to leaching of ash material in fynbos (chaparral)ecosystems, whereas DeBano and others (1979) reported asignificant loss of total N from laboratory burnings ofchaparral soils. Fuller and others (1955) described that lossof soil N was proportional to the fire intensity in ponderosapine forests with a concomitant decrease in C/N ratios. Grier(1975) noted significant nutrient losses from an intense fire onthe eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains of Washingtonand estimated a loss of 855 kg ha-’ of N. Covington andSackett (1986) found a 37% reduction in forest floor material

‘Associate Professor of Botany, Deparlment of Botany, Arizona StateUniversity, Tempe, AZ; and Microbial Ecologist and Project Leader,respectively, USDA Forest Service, Forestry Sciences Laboratory,Arizona Stale University, Tempe, AZ.


following a low-intensity prescribed fire in ponderosa pineforest with an additional 20% reduction 7 months afterburning, but no significant soil N loss.

In a comprehensive study of the effects of prescribed burning,Wells (1971) noted that while periodic bums had causedsignificant losses of forest floor material immediately after thebum, there seemed to be a tendency for the system to regainits organic matter (both C and N) over time and approach thecontrol condition. Additionally, he found a small increase inavailable P, but the increase may be short lived in calcareoussoils (DeBano and Klopatek 1988).

Christensen (1973) found greater NH, availability andnit&cation rates following burning in chaparral, andJurgensen and others (1981) found that broadcast burningcaused a minor net loss of N (approximately 100 kg ha”), butresulted in greatly enhanced soil N, nitrification, and basecation availability from a clearcut site in Montana. Theyconcluded that no significant long-term losses of N occurred.Schoch and Binkley (1986) found that prescribed burningincreased decomposition rates and N availability (as indexedby incubation) in loblolly pine stands in North Carolina.Similar results of increased levels of NH, and NO, have beenreported in ponderosa pine (Covington and Sackett 1986;Kovacic and others 1986; White 1986) and Douglas-fuecosystems (Jurgensen and others 1981). Increases in NH4are presumably the result of physicochemical reactions causedby the elevated temperature (Kovacic and others 1986).Subsequent, post-fire increases in NO, are attributed toincreased nitrification rates, that are possibly enhanced by thereduction of allelochemical compounds (White 1986).

In summary, the results of fire on C and N losses fromshrubland and coniferous forest ecosystems are mixed, butappear related to fire intensity. With this as a background,we attempted to document changes in the total pools of C andN in a pinyon-juniper woodland resulting from fire. Theobjective of the study was to determine if the patchy nature of

FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (155)

this ecosystem was reflected in the fire effects on its nutrientpools. Initially, we conducted our experiment usingmicrocosms and determined that there might be a substantialloss of nutrients from the ecosystem (Klopatek and others1990). Here, we report on the effects of the subsequent fieldstudy. While a complete inventory of the pools of both C andN was undertaken in this ecosystem, only the effects of fireon the forest floor and soil components are reported on in thispaper.

METHODSIn September, 1989 a bum was conducted of a l-ha section ofmature pinyon-juniper woodland in the Kaibab NationalForest in northcentral Arizona. The meteorologicalconditions at the beginning of the bum were: a wind speed of6.0 m sec.‘, temperature of 27” C, and a relative humidity of18 percent. Moisture content of the large downed fuel andlitter was 9 and 6 percent, respectively. Fire temperatureswere monitored at the litter surface and the 0, 2, 5, and 10cm depth of soil by a series of chrome]-alumel thermocouplesconnected to a data logger. Burning was conducted by U.S.Forest Service personnel from the Tusayan Ranger Districtand Grand Canyon National Park staff. The bum and anearby control site were fenced with barbed wire to preventdisturbance from local Livestock. Prior to the bum, aninventory was conducted of the biomass of all trees, shrubsand herbaceous species on the site using previously developedallometric relationships. The site contained 340 pinyons and167 juniper ha” (ail of which were marked with permanentbrass id tags) with a tree cover of 4286 m* ha-‘.Aboveground tree biomass totaled 135.2 mt ha”. Tree-ringanalysis revealed that many of the trees were > 350 years oldwithout any fire scars and, combined with replacementpatterns, indicated a substantial time since intense burning.Soils were primarily sandy loams with Ph values rangingfrom 7.3 to 8.1. The site was part of the Dillman mature sitedescribed elsewhere in this volume (C.C. Klopatek and others1990).

The site was divided into four relatively equal-sizedquadrants. Samples were taken of litter and duffaccumulations from under the mid-canopy of four randomlyselected trees of each species in each quadrant using 2.5 cm x2.5 cm quadrats. Five quadrats were sampled for litter in theinterspaces of each quadrant. There was no duff in theinterspaces. These measurements were combined withidentical measurements taken from the nearby control site toyield a statistical population (n = 32) used to calculateregression coeflicients of total C and N relative to the cross-sectional area of the bole and canopy cover.

Subsamples of litter and duff were taken back to thelaboratory for analysis of organic C and total N.Additionally, soil samples were taken from the O-10 and lo-20 cm depth along with the litter and duff samples, yielding16 soil samples from each depth and in each cover type.

Sampling was repeated from 24 to 48 hrs post-bum when thecanopy sites had cooled down. Although a qualitativeseparation of litter and duff ash were possible for estimationof loss by ignition, samples were combined for nutrientanalysis.

Litter, duff, and ash samples were analyzed for C content byashing in a muffle furnace at 550” C for 8 hrs with theoxidized portion multiplied by 0.58 to yield organic C; soilorganic C was analyzed by the Walkley-Black Method (Pageand others 1982). All material was analyzed for N bydigesting the material following methods of Raveh andAvnimelech (1979) and measuring the digest with a Wescanammonia analyzer. Statistical analyses were conducted usingsimple linear regressions for calculating duff and litterbiomass per tree and AOV procedures for measurements ofbefore and after burning differences (SAS 1985).

RESULTSTo understand the effects of fire on the nutrient pools in thelandscape it was necessary to quantify the partitioning ofnutrients relative to the patch mosaic of the woodland. Wemultiplied the total amount of pre-bum C and N in the litter,duff and soil (0 - 20 cm depth) per unit area by the areaoccupied by each cover type to obtain the total woodlandfloor and soil nutrient pools. Figures la,b show that, despitethe fact that the interspace and its associated vegetationcovered 57.1 percent of the area compared to 42.9 percent bythe trees (28.4 pinyon, 14.5 juniper), the trees partitioned themajority of the resources under their canopies, accumulatingnearly 68 percent of the total C and 70 percent of the total N.

There existed significant differences between the pre-bumorganic C concentrations of litter, duff, and soil material ofall three cover types (table 1). Total N concentrations ofpinyon, juniper, and interspace litter were not different. TheC:N ratios of pinyon and juniper litter (83 and 77,respectively) were similar but differed with that of theinterspace litter (120). Higher C:N ratios for the interspacelitter compared to under the canopies is typical of maturepinyon-juniper ecosystems in Arizona and may representgreater competition for available N in the interspaces(Klopatek 1987). Total N of litter and duff were notstatistically different under pinyon but were under juniper;both differed from their respective underlying soil.

Peak fire temperatures experienced under the canopy were ashigh as 374, 305 and 260” C at the 2, 5, and 10 cm soildepths and 68” C at the 2 cm depth of the interspaces. Theeffect of fire was most noticeable on the litter and duff poolsof the tree patches. Figures 2 and 3 represent the amount ofC and N per unit area by cover type. Organic C was reducedan average of 92 and 80 percent in pinyon litter and duff, and91 and 78 percent of the juniper litter and duff, respectively(fig. 2a,b). The resulting post-fire concentrations of organicC did not differ between types (table 1).


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Portitioninq of C in Woodland Floor Carbon Storage - Pre-Burn25,

II L i t t e r

cl Duff

So i I co-

P i nyon Juniper Interspace P i nyon Jun i per Interspace

Partitioning of N in Woodland Floor

2 80C

\ 700

: 6 0 0

E?L 5 0 04

2 400



1 0 0

I L i t t e r

P i nyon Juniper In terspoce

Figure l.-Total organic carbon (a) and nitrogen (b) in apinyon-juniper woodland floor located in northern Arizona.

Nitrogen exhibited similar results (fig. 3a,b), but the relativeconcentration of total N did not decrease as much as C (table1). If corrections are made for weight loss due tocombustion, loss of N from the pinyon litter and duffcompartments was 87 and 75 percent, and 88 and 75 percentof the juniper litter and duff, respectively. The loss of C andN closely parallel the results reported by Raison and others(1985). An important result of the fue is the change in theC:N ratios of the ash as compared to the litter and duff (tablel), being significantly reduced for both pinyon and juniper.

I L i t t e r

Carbon Storage - Post-Burn101

I L i t t e rN a






P i nyon Jun i per In te rspoce

Figure 2.--Carbon storage pre- (a) and post- (b) bum in thewoodland floor of a pinyon-juniper ecosystem in northernArizona.

The effect of burning on total N and organic C were lesspronounced in the underlying soil compared to the overlayingduff and litter. Both pinyon and juniper soils at the O-10 cmdepth displayed significant increases in concentrations of totalN (table 1) although no significant differences in organic C.Decreases in the soils at the lo-20 cm depth were notsignificant. The interspace soils followed a similar pattern,but differences were not significant. Increases in both C andN in underlying soils are consistent with reports that organicmaterials are translocated downward in the soil duringburning and are wicked up from lower depths (DeBano andothers 1976). Soil C:N ratios exhibited no significance beforeand after differences.


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0. I


N i t rogen Storage - Pre-Burn

0I L i t t e r

P i nyon Juniper Interspace

Ni troaen Storaae - Post-Burnb

I ii tter

P i nyon Juniper In tefspace

Figure 3.--Nitrogen storage pre- (a) and post- (b) bum in thewoodland floor of a pinyon-juniper ecosystem in northernArizona.

DISCUSSIONThe effect of burning a pinyon-juniper woodland hadsurprisingly similar results to our microcosm experiment inwhich simulated bums conducted over both pinyon andjuniper soils led to a large loss of C and N [as well as 50percent of the P] (DeBano and Klopatek 1988; Klopatek andothers 1990). Loss of N agreed with that reported by Raisonand others (1985) in that nitrogenous compounds are usuallylost proportionally to the amount of C oxidized.

The effect of burning on soil N has presented an interestingparadox that has been vigorously debated in the literature foryears (e.g., Knight 1966; McKee 1982). As statedpreviously, some authors have reported insignificant total Nincreases, while others reported significant increases in soil Nthat were caused by the leaching of the above ash material.WC found significant losses of N from the woodland floor.When the loss of C and N are applied to the spatialdistribution of pinyon-juniper-interspace mosaic, the lossestotal nearly 12.6 Mg ha” of C and 167 kg ha” N. Althoughlarge amounts of C and N were lost from the litter and duff inthis study, the changes in total N of the combined soil depthswere minimal. However, the soils at the surrounding fieldsites that had been previously (lo-90 years) burned all hadsignificantly less soil N than the unburned (Klopatek 1987).Our findings do not indicate why the loss of N occurs,although we hypothesize it may be due to the loss of C. Thisis a result of a combination of reduced C/N ratios of the ash(compared to the litter and duff) and the increase indecomposable substrates in dead root material. It should bementioned that our reported organic C concentrations includethe reduced charcoal that probably is not available formicrobial utilization. The newly available root material willlead to a initial immobilization of soil N, but a release afterdecomposition has occurred. Our preliminary findingsindicate an increase in CO, release from the forest floor ofthe bum site when compared to the nearby control site,indicating increased decomposition similar to that reported byShoch and Binkley (1986).

Pinyon-juniper woodlands in Arizona are ohen situatedbetween fire adapted ecosystems: chaparral and grasslands onthe xeric end and ponderosa pine on the more mesic end.Clearly, pinyon-juniper is not a fire adapted system as manyof its trees have low-lying branches that act as ladder fuelsresulting in the trees “torching” or crown fires. This torchingadds considerable heat to the system, effectively consumes alllitter and duff, and may sterilize the upper soil layers. Theresult is an initial greater loss of nutrients and provides apositive feedback mechanism to accelerate subsequent losses.


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Table l.--Organic carbon, total nitrogen and carbon:nitrogen ratios of pinyon, juniper,and interspace Litter and duff material before and after burning

Carbon g kg” Nitrogen g kg.’ C/NPre-burn Post-burn Pre-burn Post-burn Pre-burn Post-burn

n y o nP i

Litter (ash) 432a,w 41b,x’ 5.2a,x,x’,x 19.5b,xDuff (ash) 231a,x 41b,x 4.6a,x,xSoil O-10 cm 40a,y 43a,x



IO-20 cm 27a,,x,z


1 .Sa,y 16.9a,z 18,7a,x


Litter (ash) 352a,x 47b,x 4.6a,xDuff (ash) 169a,y



Soil O-10 cm 39a,z1.8b,x


1.8b,y26. Lb,y

2.3a,xlo-20 cm 33a,z


17.4a,y1.7a,y 1 .Sa,x 19.4a,z 20.7a,y


titter (ash) 445a,x 34b, xSoil O-10 cm 13a,y

3.7a,x O.Pb,x14a,y

120.2a,x1 .Oa,y


lo-20 cm 16a,yl.Oa,x



1.3a,x 12.3a,y 13.3a,y

‘Post-burn litter and duff ash values represent composites due to the difficulty inseparating ash material for chemical analysis.

Coamon letters (a,b) following values indicate no significant differences (p -z 0.05)between pre- and post-burn for the same element, while coaraon letters (x,y,z) indicateno significant differences within columns for the same cover type.

LITERATURE CITEDChristensen, N.L. 1973. Fire and nitrogen cycle in California

chaparral. Science 181:66-68.

Covington, W.W; Sackett, S.S. 1986. Effect of burning onsoil nitrogen concentrations in ponderosa pine. SoilScience Society of America Journal 50:453-457.

DeBano, L.F.; KIopatek, J.M. 1988. Phosphorus dynamics ofpinyon-juniper soils following simulated burning. SoilScience Society of America Journal 52:271-277.

DeBano, L.F.; Eberlein, G.E.; Dunn, P.H. 1979. Effects ofburning-on chaparral soils: I. Soil nitrogen. Soil ScienceSociety of America Journal 43:504-509.

DeBano L.F.; Perry, H.M.; Overby, S. 1987. The effect offuelwood harvesting and slash burning on biomass andnutrient relationships in a juniper (Juniperus osteosperma)stand in central Arizona. In: Proc. Pinyon-Juniper Conf.peno, NV; 13-16 Jan. 19861. Gen Tech Rep INT-215,Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, ForestService, Intermountain Forest and Range ExperimentStation. pp. 382-386.

DeBano L.F.; Savage, S.M.; Hamilton, D.A. 1976. Thetransfer of heat and hydrophobic substances duringburning. Soil Science Society Journal 40:779-782.

Fuller, W.H.; Shannon, S.; Burgess, P.S. 1955. Effect ofburning on certain forest soils of northern Arizona. ForestScience 1:44-50.

Gifford, G.F. 1981. Impact of burning pinyon-juniper debrison select soil properties. Journal of Range Management34:357-359.

Grier, CC. 1975. Wildfire effects on nutrient distribution andleaching in a coniferous forest ecosystem. CanadianJournal of Forest Research 5:599-607.

Jurgensen, M.F.; Harvey, A.E.; Larsen, M.J. 1981. Effectsof prescribed fire on soil nitrogen levels in a cutoverDouglas-fir/western larch forest. Res. Pap. INT-27.5.Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, ForestService, Intermountain Forest and Range ExperimentStation. 6 p.

Klopatek, C. Coe; Friese, C.; Allen, M.F.; DeBano, L.F.;Klopatek, J.M. The effects of an intense fire on the patchdynamics of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhixae in a pinyon-juniper woodland. flhese proceedings.].

Klopatek, CC.; DeBano, L.F.; Klopatek, J.M. 1988. Effectsof simulated fue on vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae inpinyon-juniper woodland soils. Plant and Soil 109:245-249.


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Klopatek, J.M. 1987. Nutrient patterns and succession inpinyon-juniper ecosystems of northern Arizona. In: Proc.Pinyon-juniper conf peno, NV; 13-16 Jan. 19861. Gen.Tech. Rep. INT-215. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest andRange Experiment Station. pp. 391-396.

Klopatek, J.M.; Klopatek, C.C.; DeBano, L.F. 1990.Potential variation of nitrogen transformations in pinyon-juniper ecosystems resulting from burning. Biology andFertility of Soils 10:35-44.

Klopatek, J.M.; Olson, R.J.; Emerson, C.J.; Jones, J.L.1979. Land-use conflicts with natural vegetation in theUnited States. Environmental Conservation 6:191-199.

Knight, H. 1966. Loss of nitrogen from the forest floorfollowing burning. Forestry Chronicle 42:149-152.

Kovacic, D.A.; Swift, D.M.; Ellis, J.E.; Hakonson,T.E.1986. Immediate effects of prescribed burning on mineralsoil nitrogen in ponderosa pine of New Mexico. SoilScience 141:71-76.

McKee, W.H., Jr. 1982. Changes in soil fertility followingprescribed burning on coastal plain sites. Res. Pap. SE-234. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture,Forest Service, Southeast Forest Experiment Station.23 PP .

Page, A.L.; Miller, R.H.; Keeney, D.R. (eds.). 1982.Methods of soil analysis, part 2. Chemical andmicrobiological properties (2nd ed.). American Societyof Agronomy, Madison, WI, Agronomy Serial 9.

Raveh, A.; Avnimelech, Y.A. 1979. Total nitrogen analysisin water, soil and plant material with persulfate oxidation.Water Resources 13:911-912.

SAS Institute, Inc. 1985. SAS users’ guide: Statistics. Version5. SAS Institute, Inc. Car-y, NC.

Schoch, P.; Binkley, D. 1986. Prescribed burning increasednitrogen availability in a mature loblolly pine stand.Forest Ecology and Management 14:13-22.

Stock, W.D.; Lewis, O.A.M. 1986. Soil nitrogen and therole of fire as a mineralizing agent in a South Africancoastal fynbos ecosystem. Journal of Ecology 74:317-328.

Waldrop, T.A.; Van Lear, D.H.; Lloyd, F.T.; Harms, W.R.1987. Long-term studies of prescribed burning in loblollypine forests of the Southeastern Coastal Plain. Gen.Tech. Rep. SE-45. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Forest Service, Southeastern ForestExperiment Station. 23 p.

Wells, C.G. 1971. Effects of prescribed burning on soilchemical properties and nutrient availability. In:Prescribed burning symposium proceedings. Asheville,NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. pp. 86-97.

White, C.S. 1986. Effects of prescribed fire on rates ofdecomposition and nitrogen mineralization in a ponderosapine ecosystem. Biology and Fertility of Soils 2:87-95.

Raison, R.J.; Khanna, P.K.; Woods, P.V. 1985. Mechanismsof element transfer to the atmosphere during vegetationfires. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 151132-140.


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Timothy L. Evans, David C. Guynn, Jr.‘, and Thomas A. Waldrop’

Abstract-The fell-and-bum site preparation technique is an effective means of regenerating low-qualityhardwood stands in the Southern Appalachian Mountains to more productive pine-hardwood mixtures. Thistechnique offers a number of advantages over conversion to pine monoculture. These in&de: lower cost,increased vegetation diversity within the stand, improved aesthetics, and continued mast production.However, the technique has not been fully tested in the Piedmont and other regions. This study reports theearly successional effects of several variations of the fell-and-bum technique on small mammal communitiesa n d w i l d l i f e h a b i t a t i n t h e U p p e r S o u t h e a s t e r n P i e d m o n t . Burning was increased forage production andspecies richness of vegetation. Winter felling of residual stems was more effective than spring felling instimulating forage production and increasing species richness of vegetation.

INTRODUCTIONThe fell-and-bum site preparation technique has provensuccessful as an inexpensive means to regenerate low-qualitystands to more productive pine-hardwood mixtures in theSouthern Appalachian Mountains (Phillips and Abercrombie1987). Complete descriptions of the technique are given byAbercrombie and Sims (1986), Phillips and Abercrombie(1987), and Van Lear and Waldrop (1988). Briefly, thetechnique involves a commercial clearcut followed by a springfelling of residual stems (> 2 m in height) and a summerbroadcast bum, after which pines are planted on a 3 m by 3m (10 by 10 feet) or wider spacing. It is anticipated that thetechnique will produce results in the Upper SoutheasternPiedmont similar to those observed in the mountains.However, differences in climate, soils, topography, andrainfall may make refinements to the technique necessary(Waldrop and others 1989). This method could become anattractive alternative to pine monoculture management fornonindustrial private forest landowners, who controlapproximately 80 percent of the commercial forested land inthe Piedmont.

Benefits to wildlife have not been documented. However, ithas been supposed that use of fell-and-bum methods wouldbenefit certain game species, but their has been littleconsideration of effects on small mammals, insects, andherpetofauna in treated stands. For these reasons it isimportant to determine the effects of the technique on a!1components of the natural community before promoting itsuse in the Piedmont.

‘Graduate Research Assistant and Professor Department of ForestResources, Clemson University, Clemson, SC.

‘Research Forester, USDA Forest Service, Soutbeastem ForestExperiment Station, Clemson, SC.


Study AreaStudy areas were located in the Upper Piedmont Plateauregion of western South Carolina, on the Clemson UniversityExperimental Forest in Pickens and Oconee Counties. Soilswere sandy loams of the Cecil and Pacolet series. Annualtemperature and precipitation average 15.5” C and 148 cm,respectively. During 1989, mean annual temperature was0.8” C below normal, and mean annual precipitation was 23cm above normal (NOAA 1989).

Prior to harvest, stand ages ranged from 4.5 to 55 years. Siteindexes for shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata Mill.) at base age50 years averaged 18 m (range 15 to 20 m). Stands consistedprimarily of low-quality hardwoods dominated by upland oaks(Quercus spp.) and small numbers of shortleaf pine, loblollypine (P. taeda L.), and Virginia pine (P. Virginia Mill.).Basal area averaged 8.6 m*/ha. Aspects ranged from 180 to230 degrees, and slope. averaged 13 -5 percent (range 10.0 to20.0 percent).

TreatmentsEach of three replications was divided into five 0.8 hatreatment areas. Each treatment area contained 5 to 7 sampleplots, 0.1 ha in size. Treatments included clearcuttingfollowed by winter-felling with and without summer burning;spring-felling with and without summer burning; and anunharvested control.

Habitat AnalysisProcedures for habitat analysis were modified from UnitedStates Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Suitability Index(HSI) models (Mengak 1987, Mengak and others 1989, andSanders 1985). Prior to the harvest, 10 to 20 0.04 havegetation plots were established along a transect within eachtreatment area. Plots were spaced at varying distances alongthe transect to best utilize the available area, avoid overlap,and maintain a southerly aspect. Perminent small-mammal


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trapping stations were also established at each plot center.Sampling was conducted during three sampling periods in1989. Periods were chosen to evaluate the habitat at thelowest level of vegetation production (Jan. 1 to Mar. 31), thepeak of production (May 1 to July 31), and the end of thegrowing season (Sept. 1 to Nov. 31). Ground cover estimates(by species) were obtained using a 35 mm ocular tube (Jamesand Shugart 1970). Estimates were made at l-m intervalsalong two 10-m transects within each sample plot, Transectswere centered on the trap station.

Aboveground forage biomass was determined by clipping thecurrent year’s growth of all plants in a 1 m by 1 m plotrandomly located within each 0.04-ha plot to a height of 1.5m; forage was weighed in the field. Clipped material wasseparated into three categories: woody, forbs, and grasses.Moisture content of forage biomass was determined in thelaboratory after drying in a forced-air oven at 60 degrees C”for 72 hours.

TrappingTrapping took place during the three periods when vegetationwas sampled. Traplines were prebaited with peanut butter for5 nights with the traps closed and then sampling wasconducted for 5 consecutive nights during each trappingperiod. Four trap types were used in each treatment area:Victor rat traps, Victor mouse traps, Museum special traps,and pitfalls with drift fences. All traps were rebaited eachday during the prebaiting and trapping periods. Trappingdesign was identical for all periods.

One snap trap of each type was placed within 2 m of eachrandomly located trap station. Trapping stations were markedwith l-m sections of rebar in order to establish permanenttrap locations. Pitfalls were randomly located on each site byoverlaying a grid on the site map and using a random numbertable to determine their coordinates. A modification of thetrap design described by Williams and Braun (1983) wasused. Each drift fence consisted of three 5 m by 51 cm legsof aluminum flashing that met at a common point centered onthe pitfall, with 120 degrees between each pair of legs.Flashing was set in a ditch 8 to 10 cm deep. These ditcheswere then packed with soil and the fences supported withwooden stakes. At the center of the fences, a 19-1 plasticbucket was buried flush with the ground. Buckets were keptone-third to one-half full of water to drown captured animals,and were covered with a lid when not in use. All traps werechecked daily during trapping periods.

Vegetation and trapping data were used to calculate Shannondiversity (H ‘), evenness (J), and species richness (S) for eachtrapping period. Shannon diversity was calculated as H ’ =-CP, (In P, ) where (Pi ) is the proportion of the ith species in

the population (Shannon and Weaver 1949). This functionmeasures the uncertainty in predicting the identity of anyrandomly selected individual based on the total number ofspecies in the sample (S) and the number of individuals (N),or the proportion of that species to the whole sample (P, ) foreach species represented in the sample. (J) is a measure ofthe evenness of the distribution of individuals within thespecies present, and is calculated as J =H ‘/(lnS) (Pielou,1977).

Insects were collected in ten randomly located 600-ml pitfallson each site. Traps were used for biomass collection, sinceterrestrial insects are more susceptible to capture in pitfalls,their numbers would be overestimated if individuals weresingled out for identification (Southwood 1978). Traps werekept one-third to one-half full of equal parts of water andethylene glycol, to keep the insects flexible. Traps wereemptied daily during the 5-day period when small mammaltrapping took place. AI1 insects were identified to family andweighed for biomass.

All habitat and trapping data were summarized for each siteand treatment type. Analysis of variance was used to test fordifferences between treatments, blocks, and collectionperiods. Differences were tested for significance at the 0.05level.



Biomass. Total forage biomass was greatest on winter-felledsites and on burned sites (Fig. 1). All treatments thatincluded felling produced more forage biomass than theunharvested control plots. Total woody biomass, which washighly variable, did not differ significantly among treatments.Woody biomass production varied within the treatmentsdepending on the species of woody vegetation present on thesite. This variation within treatments masked any between-treatment differences that might have been developing. Forbproduction was greatest on burned sites, particularly withwinter felling. This fort, response resulted from removal ofthe litter layer which improved seed germination conditions.Grass production was significantly higher on the winter-felledno-bum sites than all other treatments as a result of sproutingfrom pre-existing rootstocks beneath the little layer. Thecontrols had significantly lower grass production than allother treatments as a result of the heavy litter layer andalmost complete shading of the forest floor. Increases ingrass and fort, coverage at the expense of woody vegetationare common after burning and have been documented by(Langdon 1981, Waldrop and others 1987, Van Lear andWaldrop 1989).


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n-LWlnter Felled Wlnter Felled Sprlng Felled Sprlng Felled Control

Burn No Burn Burn No Burn

Figure 1. Forage biomass production by species group and treatment on fell-and-bum site-prepared areas in the UpperSoutheastern Piedmont.

During the first sampling period after the bum, considerablebrowsing occurred on blackgum (Nvssa svlvatica Marsh.),American holly (llex opaca Ait.), sassafras (Sassafras albidum(Nutt.) Ness.), and smilax (Smilax SRQ.) seedlings andsprouts. During the second sampling period, utilization of thesame species continued. Pokeweed (Phvtolacca americana L.)however emerged as the most heavily browsed species.Pokeweed was often browsed to the point of being stunted.During the final sampling period, utilization of woody browseseemed to decline, probably due to the lignification of thewoody tissue. While utilization of pokeweed and smilaxremained steady. Because summer rainfall was higher thannormal forbs on these sites remained succulent into Octoberand November, when they would normally have hardened andbeen abandoned as preferred browse species.

Diversity, Richness, and Evenness. Diversity of vegetation(H ‘) increased slightly as a result of winter felling, but therewere no significant differences in H ’ between treatments.Species differences did occur among treatments as a result ofburning, but these differences did not significantly affect H ‘.Burning favored grasses and forbs while unburned areas weredominated by sprouts of trees and shrubs.

Species richness of vegetation (S) was significantly higher onburned areas than in unburned areas and unharvested controls(fig. 2). Among the burning treatments, winter fellingproduced significantly greater species richness values’. Dueto the absence of leaves on the slash, winter-felled sitestypically did not bum as evenly or completely as spring-felledsites (Geisinger and others 1989). Therefore a mosaic ofburned and unburned microsites was created, with each onecapable of supporting a different complement of species.

‘See Evans (1990, unpublished thesis) for a full species listing.


Vegetative evenness (J) did not differ significantly amongtreatments. However, J was slightly higher on winter-felledno-bum sites due to increased grass production on those sites.

Small Mammals

Diversity, Richness, and Evenness. Diversity of smallmammals (H’) showed no significant differences amongtreatments until the third sampling period (Sept. 1 to Nov. 31)(table 1). At th? time, small mammal abundance on all site-prepared areas declined with the winter decline of vegetativebrowse and ground cover. This pattern agrees with thefinding of Briese and Smith (1974) that small mammals shiftthe centers of their ranges throughout the year to takeadvantage of the distributional change in food and cover. H ’was greater on the unharvested controls than on the treatedsites during the third period as a result of the fall mast cropand the greater cover afforded by the undisturbed little layer.

Species richness (S) values were low in the lirst samplingperiod and there were no significant differences in S amongtreatments (table 2). In the second sampling period, winter-felled, burned sites had significantly higher S values thanother sites. However, in the third sampling period, speciesrichness was significantly lower on winter-felled burned sitesas a result of the early senescence of the fort, species thatdominated those sites. Both food and cover declined muchearlier on winter-felled burned sites than on those wheregrasses or woody vegetation were more dominant. Evenness(J) values did not differ significantly among treatments in anyperiod.

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Vhnter Felled Winter Felled Sprlng Felled Sprlng FelledBurn No Burn Burn No Burn


Figure 2. Plant species richness on fell-and-bum site-prepared areas in the Upper Southeastern Piedmont (columns with thesame letter were not significantly different at the 0.05 level using Duncan’s Multiple Range Test).

Table 1. Small-mama1 diversity (H') on felled-and-burned study sites in theUpper Southeastern Piedmont, 1989.

Treatment Period

Jan. T-Mar. 31 May I-July 31 Sept. l-Nov. 31

Uinter-Fell, Burn O.Oe 0.261a 0 092aWinter-Fell, No-burn 0.173a 0:360abSpring-Fell, Burn O.Oa 0.235a 0.409abSpring-Fell, No burn O.Oa 0.19la 0.192aControl O.Oa O.OOOa 0.519b

-Values folloued by the same letter uithin a column uere not significantlydifferent at the 0.05 level using Duncan's Multiple Range Test.

Table 2. Species richness (S) of small mam~ls on felled-and-burned studysites in the Upper Southeastern Piedmont 1989.

Treatment Period

Jan. t-Mar. 31 May I-July 31 Sept. l-Nov. 31

Uinter-Fell, Burn 0.333a 2.667a 1.333aWinter-Fell, No-burn 1.333a 1.667ab 2.667abSpring-Fell, Burn 0.667a 2.000ab 3.333bSpring-Fell, No burn l.OOOa 2.000ab 2.000abControl 0.667a 0.333b 3.333b

-Values folloued by the same letter uithin a column uere not significantlydifferent at the 0.05 level using Duncan's Multiple Range Test.


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Wlnter Felled Wlnter Felled Sprlng Felled Sprlng FelledBurn No Burn Burn No Burn


Number of individual small mammals on fell-and-bum site-prepared areas in the Upper Southeastern Piedmont(columns with the same letter were not significantly different at the 0.05 level).

Number of individuals. Both winter-felling and burningresulted in higher numbers of small mammals (N) utilizing anarea (fig. 3). This increase is probably a response to theincrease in available forage (vegetation biomass) that resultedfrom this treatment combination. Not all small mammalspecies increased in numbers in response to disturbance.Species that were trapped most often, such as white-footedmice (Peromvscus leuconus), were those that are best adaptedto an early successional environment (table 3). This finding

agrees with a number of other studies that show an increase inPeromvscus spp. following fire (Ahlgren 1966; KreRig andAhlgren 1974; Hingtgen and Clark 1984). The increase inPeromvscus spp. was most pronounced during the first twosampling periods and was no longer evident by the thirdsampling period. By that time the habitat was sufficientlydeveloped to support a larger number of species with morevaried food habits and cover requirements.

Table 3. Relative ekndance etxi total number of individual aninrals (Y)captured, by species, on alt fell-and-burn study sites in the Uppersoutheastern Piechwnt 1989.

“AWALwhite-footed mouse (Peromyscus Leucopus) 97 63.0golden m o u s e (Ochrotays wftsllii) 1 3 8.5hwse mcuse (UUS m.E.culus) 1 0 6 . 6ea*tem cottontail rabbit (Sylvilsgus floridanus) 7cotton Cat (Signodw, hispidus) 6 :4c o t t o n m o u s e (P. gossypinus) 2 1:2eastern chipmnk (Tmnias striatus) 1 0.7tcest shreu (Cryptotis parve) 1 0.7southeastern shrew (Sorex Longirostris) 0.7bteck rat (Rattus rattus)


BIRDSmourning dove,

HERPETOFAUNAAmerican toedUocdhouse's toad-?estem tax turtle,

(Zenaide macrwra) 1 0.7

TOTAL= 1 0.7

(Bufo emricsnus) 2.0(5. uoodhwsei) : 1 . 2(Terapme carolina) 2 1 . 2

southern leopard frog fR.ww sphcncocephete) 1 0.7eastern narrow-mouthed toad (Gestrophyrne cerolinensis) 1ring-necked snake (Diadophus pnctstus) 1 i::

OTHERbrown grand-daddy LongLegs, (Phalangiun opiLio) 1 0.7Carolina Locust, (Dissostiers cerolina) 1 0.7

TOTAL= 2 1 . 4


I-irdicetes an incidental capture in B snap trap

1 5 2 100.0


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II,’ ., Per iod 3. . . . .. : , . .cl.:,;....: period 2

q Period 1

Wlnter Felled Winter Felled Sprlng Felled Sprlng Felled ControlBurn No Burn Burn No Burn

Figure 4. Insect biomass production on fell-and-bum site-prepared areas in the Upper Southeastern Piedmont, 1989.


Biomass. Total insect biomass was decreased temporarily byall site preparation treatments (fig. 4). Control sites averaged4.7 kg/ha, while treated sites averaged 2.8 kg/ha. Insectbiomass did not decrease as dramatically on winter-felled sitesas on other sites, probably because fire intensities were loweron the winter-felled sites. Insect biomass was significantlyhigher on control sites than on other sites during the firstsampling period. Both winter-felled and control sites weresignificantly higher than other sites during the secondsampling period. Recovery of insect biomass production wasrapid and there were no longer significant differences by thethird sampling period.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONSVegetation biomass production was greater for all sitepreparation treatments than for the control. Burned plotssupported richer, more productive plant communities andhigher numbers of small mammals than did unburned plots.Winter-felling and burning yielded richer, more productiveplant communities and higher numbers of small mammalsthan spring felling and burning. As vegetation biomassproduction declined in the fall, small-mammal numbersbecame highly variable within treatments. Insect biomassproduction was reduced by all site preparation treatments dueto disturbance of the litter layer. However, this decrease inproduction lasted less than 1 year.

This study indicates that the fell-and-bum site preparationtechnique, as it is practiced in the Southern AppalachianMountains, can be used in the Upper Piedmont withoutadversely affecting forage production for wildlife habitat. Iffelling of residual stems is conducted in the spring, as isrecommended in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, sitepreparation bums can significantly reduce fuel loads andprovide uniform Planting conditions (Sanders and Van Lear1987; Geisinger and others 1989). Bums conducted afterwinter felling are less uniform (Geisinger and others 1989)and leave more of the slash and logs that provide cover andforaging sites for small mammals. More complete bums alsoresult in a more hom*ogenous habitat than the mosaic ofburned and unburned microsites found on winter-felled areas.

The fell-and-bum technique is a relatively inexpensive methodto regenerate pine-hardwood mixtures but its application inthe Piedmont requires additional study. Effects on wildlife,water quality, and soil as well as on stand regeneration anddevelopment are currently being studied. As Van Lear andKapeluck (1989) have shown, burning prescriptions onPiedmont sites must be modified if erosion is to be controlled.Species composition and soil characteristics of Piedmont sitesare different from those of mountain sites, and it may benecessary to modify fell-and-bum techniques because of thosedifferences. Finally, this study addressed only the earlysuccessional habitat changes that resulted from this technique.The impact of this type of site preparation on wildlife as thestands continue to develop is yet to be determined.


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LITERATURE CITEDAbercrombie, James A., Jr.; Sims, Daniel H. 1986. Fell

and bum for low-cost site preparation. Forest Farmer46(1):14-17.

Ahlgren, Clifford E. 1966. Small mammals andreforestation following prescribed burning. Journal ofForestry 64(9):614-618.

Briese, Linda A.; Smith, Michael H. 1974. Seasonalabundance and movements of nine species of smallmammals. Journal of Mammalogy 55:615-629.

Evans, Timothy L. 1990. Effects of fell-and-bum sitepreparation on wildlife habitat and small mammals in theUpper Piedmont of Georgia and South Carolina. MS.Thesis, Clemson University, Clemson, SC.

Geisinger, Donn R.; Waldrop, Thomas A.; Haymond,Jacqueline L.; Van Lear, David H. 1989. Sprout growthfollowing winter and spring felling with and withoutsummer broadcast burning. pp. 91-95. In Waldrop, T.A., ed. Proceedings of pine-hardwood mixtures: asymposium on management of the type. 1989 April 18-19; Atlanta, GA. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-58. Asheville,NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Southeastern Forest Experiment Station.

Hingtgen, Terrence M.; Clark, William R. 1984. Smallmammal recolonization of reclaimed coal surface-minedland in Wyoming. Journal of Wildlife Management48(4):1255-1261.

James, Frances C.; Shugart, Henry Herman, Jr. 1970. Aquantitative method of habitat description. Audubon FieldNotes 24~727-736.

Krefting, Lam&z W.; Ahlgren, Clifford E. 1974. Smallmammals and vegetation changes after a fire in a mixedconifer-hardwood forest. Ecology 55:1391-1398.

Langdon, 0. Gordon. 1981. Some effects of prescribed fireon understory vegetation in loblolly pine stands. InWood, Gene W., ed. Prescribed tire and wildlife insouthern forests: Proceedings of a symposium; 1981April 6-8; Myrtle Beach, SC. Georgetown, SC:Clemson University, Belle W. Baruch Forest ScienceInstitute: 143-153.

Mengak, Michael T. 1987. Impacts of natural and artificialregeneration of loblolly pine on small mammals in theSouth Carolina Piedmont. Ph.D. Dissertation, ClemsonUniversity, Clemson, SC. 97 pp.

Mengak, Michael T.; Guynn, David C., Jr.; Van Lear, DavidH. 1989. Ecological implications of loblolly pineregeneration for small mammal communities. ForestScience 35(2):503-514.

NOAA. 1989. Climatological Data, Annual Summary, SouthCarolina. Vol. 39.

Phillips, Douglas R.; Abercrombie, James A., Jr. 1987.Pie-hardwood mixtures--a new concept in regeneration.Southern Journal of Applied Forestry 11(4):192-197.

Pielou, E. C. 1977. Mathematical ecology. John Wiley andSons, New York. 385 pp.

Sanders, Bradford M.; Van Lear, David H. 1988. Photosfor estimating residue loading before and after burning inSouthern Appalachian mixed pine-hardwood clearcuts.Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-49. Asheville, NC: U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, SoutheasternForest Experiment Station.

Sanders, Diane L. 1985. Low-intensity prescribed fire inmixed pine-hardwood stands--effects on small mammalhabitat and hardwood stem quality. M.S. Thesis,Clemson University, Clemson, SC. 64 pp.

Shannon, C. E.; Weaver, W. 1949. The mathematicaltheory of communication. University of Illinois press.Urbana, IL. 177 pp.

Southwood, Richard, Sr. 1978. Ecological methods: withparticular reference to the study of insect populations.John Wiley and Sons, New York. 391 pp.

Van Lear, David H.; Kapeluck, Peter R. 1989. FelI andbum to regenerate mixed pine-hardwood stands: anoverview of effects on soil. pp. 83-90. In Waldrop, T.A., ed. Proceedings of pine-hardwood mixtures: asymposium on management of the type. 1989 April 18-19; Atlanta, GA. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-58. Asheville,NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Southeastern Forest Experiment Station.

Van Lear, David H.; Waldrop, Thomas A. 1988. Effects offire on natural regeneration int he Appalachian Mountains.pp. 52-70. In Smith, H. C.; Perkey, A. W.; Kidd, W.E., Jr., eds. Workshop proceedings, guidelines forregenerating Appalachian hardwood stands. 1988 May24-26; Morgantown, WV.


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Van Lear, David H.; Waldrop, Thomas A. 1989. History,uses and effects of fm in the Southern Appalachians.Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-54. Asheville, NC: U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, SoutheasternForest Experiment Station.

Waldrop, Thomas A.; Van Lear, David H.; Lloyd, FIThomas; Harms, William R. 1987. Long-term studies ofprescribed burning in loblolly pine forests of theSoutheastern Coastal Plain. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-45.Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, ForestService, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. 23 pp.

Waldrop, Thomas A.; Lloyd, F. Thomas; Abercrombie,James A., Jr. 1989. Fell and bum to regenerate mixedpine-hardwood stands: an overview of research on standdevelopment. pp. 75-82. In Waldrop, T. A., ed.Proceedings of pine-hardwood mixtures: a symposium onmanagement of the type. 1989 April 18-19; Atlanta, GA.Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-58. Asheville, NC: U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, SoutheasternForest Experiment Station,

Williams, Daniel F.; Braun, Suzanne E. 1983. Comparisonof pitfall and conventional traps for sampling smallmammal populations. Journal of Wildlife Management47(3):841-845.


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Ronald E. Masters’

Abstract-This study compared vegetation response and cervid browse use within the Ouachita Mountainsfollowing an array of timber harvest and fire regimes. Nine treatments were replicated l-3 times in acompletely randomized design on 23 (1.2-I .6 ha) units. The treatments were a no treatment control, awinter rough reduction bum treatment, a clearcut, mechanical site preparation and summer bum treatment,a harvest pine (Pinus echinata) only and annual bum treatment, and 5 harvest pine and thin hardwoodtreatments with no bum, 4, 3, 2, and 1 year winter-bum intervals. Pine timber was harvested in June andJuly of 1984 and hardwoods selectively thinned to a basal area of 9 d/ha in appropriate treatments.Clearcut treatments were sheared, raked, and windrowed in spring 1985 followed by a summer sitepreparation bum, and then contour ripped prior to planting in early April 1986. Winter bums were stripheadfires applied in mid- to late winter in 1985 through 1988. Little bluestem (Schizachvrium scooarium)and big bluestem [Andropoaon perardi) dominated harvested and winter burned (retrogressed) treatments.Plant frequency and percent ground cover of these 2 species incressed on sites burned more frequently.The clearcut and summer burned sites were initially dominated by forbs and panic*ms (Dicanthelium spp.and Panicum spp.). Then as forbs declined, little bluestem increased in frequency and percent groundcover. Plant species richness was significantly @ < 0.05) increased by timber harvest and fire. Amongharvested sites, frequency of burning had no significant effect on plant species diversity or plant speciesevenness. Longer bum intervals or no burning on retrogressed sites allowed woody browse species used bywhite-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and possibly elk (Cervus elaphus) to increase.F r e q u e n c y o fbrowse use by cervids in 1988 was greatest on the harvest, thin, 3-year bum interval; harvest, thin, no-bum; harvest, thin, 2-year bum interval; and clearcut treatments. The harvest, thin, no-bum and clearcuttreatments also provided screening and bedding cover for cervids, in contrast to other treatments. Winterprescribed fire at I- or ‘L-year intervals favored legumes and created habitat conditions favorable forbobwhite quail (Colinus virrrinianus). Timber management strategies that create a mosaic of retrogressedburned and unburned sites, and regeneration clearcuts with adequate provisions for hard mast productionshould provide management flexibility to meet habitat needs of most game species.

INTRODUCTIONThe oak (Ouercus spp.)-shortleaf pine forest is the mostextensive forest type in the eastern United States (Lotan andothers 1978), and is widely considered to be a fire subclimaxassociation (Oosting 1956). In spite of the type’s prevalenceand importance, there has been insufficient research on forestmanagement and fire ecology in the oak-shortleaf pine typeand specifically in the Ouachita Highlands (Lotan and others1978).

Segelquist and Pennington (1968) documented the lack of anadequate understory forage base for deer in the OuachitaMountains of Oklahoma. Winter mortality of deer has beenrelated to mast failure and may be compounded by the lack ofan evergreen winter browse (Segelquist and Pennington 1968;Segelquist and others 1969, 1972). Forage production in latesummer and early fall may be of critical importance in theadvent of mast shortfall (Fenwood and others 1984).

In 1977, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservationbegan using timber harvest and prescribed fire to improve

habitat conditions for deer and elk on the Pushmataha WildlifeManagement Area. Harvested settings were maintained inearly stages of secondary succession with prescribed fire (siteretrogression). Although the effects of forest managementand fire on wildlife have often been studied, little researchhas dealt with manipulation of forested ecosystems for thepurpose of benefiting wildlife (Ripley 1980).

My objective was to compare site retrogression throughtimber harvest and periodic prescribed fire, with regenerationclearcutting and understory rough reduction bums. Changesin plant species richness, diversity, evenness, composition,percent ground cover and browse utilization by cervids wereused as measures of treatment effects.

STUDY AREAThe 29.1-ha study area was located within the Forest HabitatResearch Area (FHRA) on the 7,395 ha Pushmataha WildlifeManagement Area near Clayton, Oklahoma. The PushmatahaWildlife Management Area lies along the western edge of theOuachita Highland Province. Study area soils belong to theCamasaw-Pirum-Clebit association with areas of rock

‘Forest Wildlife Biologist, Oklahoma Department of WildlifeConservation, 1801 N. Lincoln, Oklahoma City, OK.


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outcrop. The soils developed from chetty shales and resistantsandstones and were thin and drought prone. The climate wassemihumid to humid with hot summers and mild winters (Bainand Watterson 1979).

Prior to acquisition from 1946 to 1954, Pushmataha WildlifeManagement Area was grazed, selectively harvested, andfrequently burned (Oklahoma Department of WildlifeConservation 1972). The FHRA was protected from furtherlogging, grazing and fire from acquisition until 1984 (R.Robinson, Area Biologist, Oklahoma Department of WildlifeConservation, personal communication). From 1983 to 1988the Pushmataha Wildlife Management Area supported anaverage deer population of 540 -+ 40 (SE) and 9 + 1 (SE) elk(Masters 1991).

Post oak (Q. stellata), shortleaf pine, and to a lesser extent,blackjack oak (Q. marilandica), and mockemut hickory(Carva tomentosa) dominated the overstory. Common woodyunderstory species included tree sparkleberry (Vacciniumarboreum), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinouefolia),greenbriar (Smilax spp.), and grape (Q& spp.).C o m m o nherbaceous plants included little bluestem, panic*ms, andsedges (Carex spp.) (Masters 1991).


Cultural TreatmentsBeginning in summer 1984, 9 treatments were applied to 23,I .2-l .6 ha contiguous, rectangular units on the FHRA in acompletely randomized experimental design (Chambers andBrown 1983). Treatments, burning sequence, treatment code,and number of replications (n) were:

(1) no treatment (control) (n = 3);(2) rough-reduction winter prescribed bum at &year

interval, 1985 (RRB) (n=3);(3) clearcut and summer site prep bum, 1985 (CCSP)

(n=3);(4) harvest pine timber only, winter prescribed bum,

l-year interval, 1985 to 1988 (H-NT-l) (n=3);(5) harvest pine timber, thin hardwoods, no bum (H-T)

@=I);(6) harvest pine timber, thin hardwoods, winter prescribed

bum at 4-year interval, 1985 (H-T-4) (n=3);(7) harvest pine timber, thin hardwoods, winter prescribed

bum at 3-year interval, 1985, 1988 (H-T-3) (n=2);(8) harvest pine timber, thin hardwoods, winter prescribed

bum at Z-year interval, 1985, 1987 (H-T-Z) (n=3);and

(9) harvest pine timber, thin hardwoods, winter prescribedbum at l-year interval, 1985 to 1988 (H-T-l)(n=2).

In appropriate treatments merchantable pine timber washarvested and hardwoods selectively thinned by single steminjection using 2-4 D, to a basal area of 9 m*/ha (includesstems > 5 cm diameter at 1.4 m height), in summer 1984.Prescribed bums using strip headlires were conducted inwinter 1985 and in succeeding years at appropriate intervals.Several replications were dropped because they were eitherburned out of sequence by spotovers or not burned because ofrain. The clearcut site-prep treatment included shearing,raking and windrowing of logging debris with a site-prep bumconducted during summer 1985. After contour ripping,genetically improved loblolly pine (12. w was planted on a2.1 m by 2.4 m spacing, in early April, 1986.

Vegetation SamplingUnderstory, midstory and overstory vegetation was sampledusing nested quadrats (1 m by 1 m and 4 m by 4 m) (Oosting1956:47-50, 62). On each treatment unit, 10 permanent plotswere established at 19.8 m intervals on two randomly locatedlines perpendicular to the contour. In order to avoid biascaused by influences from adjacent treatment units, I did notsample within 19.8 m of any edge (Oosting 1956; MueIIer-Dombois and Ellenberg 1974). Data collected included plantspecies density, frequency, percent ground cover, andutilization.

Utilization was categorized based on proportion of currentannual growth (CAG) browsed. The categories were none,trace--less than 25 percent, moderate--25 to 50 percent, andheavy--greater than 50 percent utilization.

Overstory and midstory vegetation were categorized byvertical strata and crown position relative to stand canopystructure. Strata designations were 0 to 1 m, 1 to 3 m, andgreater than 3 m. Strata greater than 3 m were categorizedby position relative to stand canopy structure and weresuppressed, intermediate, codominant, and dominant canopyposition (Smith 1962). On harvested treatments stratadesignation of residual trees was based on prior standstructure. No tree or shrub regrowth was greater than 3 m.Overstory vegetation was further quantified using the variableradius plot method (Avery 1964). Basal areas were takenusing a 10 basal area factor prism with plot center at thecenter of each 4 m by 4 m plot. Vegetation sampling andbrowse use determinations were conducted in September andOctober of each year because this was a critical period of theyear for deer (Fenwood and others 1984). A baseline surveywas conducted in 1983.

Data AnalysisSpecies diversity, evenness, richness, density, and frequencywere calculated from vegetation samples (Ludwig andReynolds 1988). A modification of Krueger’s (1972)preference index (RPI) combined across years and treatmentswas used to rank plant species used by deer and elk. Analysis


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Table 1 .--Average percent cover for major species groups 1983-88. Timber harvestwas applied in smr 1984 and prescribed burns were conducted in 1985 and fo1lowing.l'


____--______--_-____-------.GRASSES 3 6FORBS 2 2LEGUMES


VINES <lSHRUB 0-1M 6 13SHRUB l-3M 1 3TREE MIDR' 14a 10a

__________---_--____--------GRASSES 9 1 0FORBSLEGUMES : s

VINES 1SHRUB 0-1M 10 2 2SHRUB l-3W 3 5TREE MID 23a 24a





YEAR=83 ---_--_--__---__-----------------------

7 12 8 4 .1 ; tr 2 . 371 1 2 . 1

<l <l 1: <l

06 10 7 :


4b 2: l b<l4b :


YEAR=84 ---_-_-------------____________________14 14 8 5 . 77 1

<l 1 1 : : :<l <l Tl16 11 ii :, : 7

1 2 <l 19ab lb 7b ib : 9ab

____________---_____--------------- YEA,+85 __--_________-______----.--------------

GRASSES 7b 6b . 23a 22a 2Oa 14ab . 5bFORBS 2 2 . 25a 17b llb 14b . 3LEGUMES 1 1 . 2 4 3 6 . 1VINES : <lSHRUB 0-1M 9 :

0 <l2 0 13

1: 1;:


SHRUB l-3M !ia 3ab . l b <lbTREE MI0 24a 17a fb------.----.-.-----------------~---- YEAR=&

2 b zt: 5: :clb<lb

_--_______-_-____----------------------GRASSES 7b 8b 30a 20ab 29a 27a 20ab 28a 17abFORBS 3 c 5bc 13bc 16bc 18b 17b 19b 18b 37aLEGUMES : 2 4 4 5 6 7 9 3VINES clSHRUB 0-1M 9 ;2, ;lt ;: 2: 12 1; 12 9SHRUB l-3H 6a lbc 3bc

E 4bc2bc

:P oc4ab <lIX o c

TREE MID 22a lob lc o c o c__-__-_---------------------------- YEAR=87 ---------------_-----------------------GRASSES 4 c 7 c 34a 19b 2Sab 21b 21b 3Sa 2SabFORBS

:b2 llabc 1obc 9bc 7c 17ab 13abc 20a

LEGUMES l b 6ab 8a 4ab 3ab Pa Sab 4abVINES 1 <l <l <l 3 a 1 1 ClSHRUB 0-1M 6c 14abc 1obc 29a 2;abc 24ab 22abc 8bc 13abcSHRUB l-311 4 2 12 6 5 3 2 3TREE MID 22a l:b 4 c 2 c 4c 2c lc o c o c

___________________________________ YEAR== _______________________________________GRASSES 3d

E31ab llcd 2Sab 32ab 2Ocb 37a 28ab

FORES l b 7ab 4b 7ab 8ab 6ab 13aLEGUMES l c lc sabc 2bc ::bc Sabc 9a 8ab SabcVINES

:C<l <l el 1 1 <l

SHRUB 0-1M 1Sabc 1obc 29a 26ab 28a ;:ab l&c 17abcSHRUB 1-3M 4b 2b

f:: 2c24a lib 2b 9b l b 12b

TREE MID 16a 12ab lc o c <lc o c o c

' Row means with the same Letter are not significantly different (p < 0.05).

' CONT = control, no treatment; RR8 = rough reduction burn in winter, at 4 yearintervals; H-NT-l = harvest pine tinber, no thinning of hardwoods, winterprescribed burn at 1 year intervals; H-T = harvest pine timber, thin hardwoods;H-T-4 = harvest pine timber, thin hardwoods, winter prescribed burn at 4 yearintervals; H-T-3 = harvest pine timber, thin hardwoods, winter prescribed burn at3 year intervals; H-T-2 = harvest pine timber, thin hardwoods, winter prescribedburn at 2 year intervals; H-T-l = harvest pine timber, thin hardwoods, winterprescribed burn at 1 year intervals; CCSP = clearcut, windrow logging slash, summersite prep burn, rip.

3 TREE MI0 = Suppressed trees > 3 m height in the midstory, but not extending intothe upper canopy layer.


FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (171)

was performed using PC-SAS @AS Institute 1985, 1987) andSPDIVERS.BAS (Ludwig and Reynolds 1988). Statisticalanalysis of treatments was by one-way analysis of variance(ANOVA) for unequal sample size. To determine treatmentprcfcrence by cervids, browse utilization frequency for allsample plots was summed by unit (replication), ranked andanalyzed by ANOVA, the equivalent of the Kruskal-Wallisnonparametric procedure (SAS Institute 1985). Mean rankswere separated by Duncan’s Multiple Range Test (Steele andTorrie 1980).


Vegetation ResponsePretreatment vegetation sampling in 1983 indicated higher Cp< 0.05) percent cover of midstory trees in control and RRBreplicates than on other treatment units (table 1). Values forutilization and other descriptors of vegetation did not differamong units prior to application of treatments. The onlysignificant differences found bexween control and RRBtreatments in succeeding years were in percent cover ofsuppressed trees. Rough reduction burning reduced Cp <0.05) percent cover in that stratum by 1986-88 (table 1).

Understory response varied after initial timber harvest andthinning of residual hardwoods. In 1984, species diversityincreased, and evenness declined @ < 0.05) on aU harvestedand thinned treatments compared to the control and RRBtreatments. Species evenness provided an adequate measureof shrub response only in 1984. Species richness of herbsand shrubs immediately after timber harvest was unchanged(figs. 1 and 2).

In 1985 and 1986 after all burning and timber harvesttreatments had been applied species richness of herbaceousand shrub vegetation on treated areas were significantly Q <0.05) higher (figs. 1 and 2). Grass cover on treated areaswas dominated by little bluestem, big biuestem and panic*ms.The predominant forbs were horseweed (Convza canadensis),white snakeroot (EuDatorium rueosum), and fireweed(Erechtities hieracifolia). Shrub response on harvested andburned treatments was composed of primarily winged sumac(Rhus cooallina), dewberry (Rubus spp.), and post oaksprouts. Only legume and vine categories showed nodifference in cover among treatments (table 1).

In 1986, values of most vegetational characteristics of CCSPareas did not differ significantly from comesponding valuesfor areas that were harvested and burned (table 1). Howeverspecies composition and shrub species richness differed bytreatment (Jj < 0.05) (fig. 2). Panic*ms and little bluestemwere respective grass dominants on CCSP and all theharvested, thinned and burned treatments. Crabgrass

40 ,A H - N T - 1 10 =BlJRNED


5 : CYT / TB / “r” ,1983 1984 1985 1966 1987 1988


Figure l.-Mean species richness of herbaceous plants 1983-88. For clarity of presentation some burned treatmenu werenot depicted. Those not depicted were intermediate inresponse.



8 - - 3 - - - l - I f I I1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988


Figure 2.-Mean species richness of shrubs 1983-88. Forclarity of presentation some burned treatments were notdepicted. Those not depicted were intermediate in response.


FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (172)

(Digitaria violescens) was a significant component of the grassresponse of the CCSP treatment and occurred infrequently onother treatments. Broomsedge bluestem (Andropoppnvirginianus) also occurred more frequently on CCSPtreatments than on other treatments. Forb response wasgreatest during 1986 on the CCSP treated areas and wassignificantly higher for this treatment than for others @ <0.05) (table 1).

By 1988, percent cover of all plant groups, except vines,differed among treatments (table 1). For herbaceous plants,species richness and evenness differed significantly amongtreatments. Species richness and diversity differedsignificantly among treatments for shrubs (fig. 2). Timberharvest and prescribed fire decreased herbaceous speciesevenness but increased shrub and herb richness and shrubdiversity (figs. 1 and 2). Bluestems and panic*ms weredominant grasses on harvested and burned treatments. In theCCSP treatment areas, the grasses were mainly comprised ofpanicurns and to a lesser extent little bluestem. Broomsedgebluestem occurred more frequently on this treatment thanothers .

Dominant shrub species on harvested and burned sitesincluded winged sumac, dewberry, post oak sprouts, treesparkleberry, and winged elm (Ulmus [emailprotected] n t h e H - Ttreatment, sumac was not prevalent, but the above species andshortleaf pine seedlings and saplings were prominent.Dewberry, post oak, coralberry (Svmohoricaruos orbiculatus)and loblolly pine were primary shrub constituents on CCSPtreatments .

Abundance of preferred forbs increased c < 0.05) (fig. 3)after timber harvest and prescribed fire then declined as grasscover increased (table 1). Preferred browse increased @ <0.05) in alI except RRB, control and annual burned treatments(tig. 4). Percent cover of preferred browse in the annualburned treatments were not different from percent cover ofpreferred browse on the control or RRB sites. By 1988legumes, preferred forbs and preferred browse respondeddifferentially by treatment (figs. 3-5). More frequent burningintervals favored legumes and preferred forbs while lessfrequent intervals favored shrubs (figs. 4 and 5).

UtilizationCervids utilized 74 species of plants and 17 plant groupsidentified to genera. Forbs of 31 species, and additionalplants identified only as members of 7 genera were used.Thirteen species of legumes and additional legumes identifiedto 1 genus (Desmodium spp.) were used. Utilization occurredon 29 species and an additional 7 genera of woody browse.Grass-likes utilized included panic*ms, sedges, and littlebluestem. Rankings of relative preference revealed thatwoody browse was used more than forbs (table 2).


Figure 3.-Percent cover of preferred forbs 1983-88. Forclarity of presentation some burned treatments were notdepicted. Those not depicted were intermediate in response.


Figure 4.--Percent cover of preferred browse 1983-88. Forclarity of presentation some burned treatments were notdepicted. Those not depicted were intermediate in response.




Figure S.--Percent cover of preferred forbs, other forbs, andlegumes after all bum intervals had been completed in 1988.


FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (173)

Table Z.--Rankings of preferred cervid food plants based on asurmed preference index for all years and treatments.

Browse Index Forbs index

Smilax spp. 808 Lespedeza spp. 3 2 2Ulmus alata 745 Aster patens 311mnanch arborea 448 Solidago ulmifol ia 201Vitis spp. 422 135Vacciniun spp.

Honarda fistulosa2 0 1 Phytolacca americana 128

Hvpericun spp. 195 Conyza canadensis 120Rhus glabra 167 Solanun carolinense 116Rhus cocallina 159 Aster spp. 106


Cervid UseMean ranks of cervid frequency of utilization on replicateswas significantly different Cp < 0.001) among treatments(table 3). Annual bum and RRB treatments had significantlylower frequency of utilization than other treatments.

DISCUSSIONVegetation response varied by species. Some plant speciesincreased on retrogressed sites and others decreased frompretreatment levels. Species evenness was highest on thecontrol and pretreatment, which indicated that herbaceousspecies were equally abundant. Site perturbation, causedsome plant species, particularly tallgrasses, to become moreabundant relative to other species.

Community progression on harvested and burned sites wassimilar to that reported by Hebb (1971) for clearcutting.Successional stages alter harvest were; (1) disturbed site withpretreatment understory ground cover; (2) profusion ofgrasses and annual forbs; (3) increase in perennial forbs andgrasses, decrease in annuals and increase in shrubs; and (4)in the absence of periodic prescribed fire, increases in shrubsand grasses and declines in forbs.

Chronosequences of vegetation on retrogressed sites subjectedto fire at varying frequencies was similar to response ofburned mesic tallgrass prairie (Anderson and Brown 1986).Longer fue intervals allowed woody species to increase(Bragg and Hulbert 1976; Petranka and McPherson 1979).Summer site-prep bums and ripping associated with the CCSPtreatment caused a lag in pIant community progression.Species composition was different under this treatment regimewith forbs dominating the year following the summer siteprep bum. As grasses increased, panic*ms were the primarydominant followed by little bluestem. The broomsedgebluestem component was higher on the CCSP treatment thanothers. The summer site prep burn apparently set backbluestems and allowed cool season grasses (panic*ms) andsedges to increase. Shrub species richness and percent coverwere slower to increase on CCSP than retrogressed andwinter burned sites (table 1 and fig. 2).

Rough-reduction bums caused smaller increases in herbaceouscover and species richness than they have in other cases(Oosting 1944, Lewis and Harshbarger 1976). However, oak-pine forest in the Ouachita Mountains do not have well

Table 3. --Mean ranks of 1988 cervid utilization frequency bytreatment on the Pushmataha Forest Habitat Research Area.l’


H - T - 3 H - T H-l-2 CCSP CON1 H-T-4 H-T-l H-NT-1 RRB

19.8 18.5 17.2 17.2 13.2 9.8 8.5 7.3 2.3

’ Means underscored with the same line are not significantlydifferent (p < 0.05) .

’ H-l-3 = harvest pine timber, thin harduocds, uinter prescribedburn at 3 year intervals; H-T = harvest pine timber, thinharduoods; H-T-2 = harvest pine tin&r, thin hardwoods, winterprescribed burn at 2 year intervats; CCSP = clearcut, windrowlogging slash, sunnet- site prep burn, rip; CONT = control, notreatment; H-T-4 = harvest pine timber, thin hardwoods, uinterprescribed burn at 4 year intervats; H-T-1 = harvest pinetimber, thin hardwoods, winter prescribed burn at 1 yearintervals; H-NT-1 = harvest pine timber only, winter prescribedburn at 1 year intervals; RRB = rough reduction burn in uinter,at 4 year intervals.


FIRE ECOLOGY - USDA Forest Service Southern … Kaosas in 1984.Valoes for each COmunit species followed by the same Letter are notl parameter or * * values < 0.05 percent. sigoificao - [PDF Document] (174)

developed midstories. Herbaceous species will increase asrepeated fire eliminates smaller diameter overstory hardwoodsand as pines assume dominance (Lewis and Harshbarger1976).

Browse use on a treated area was probably related to percentcover of preferred browse and shrub species richness (table 3and figs. 2 and 4). Woody browse is the major component ofdeer diets in all months except May (Jenks and others 1990).However when hard mast is available in fall and winter itcomprises the major portion of deer diets (Fenwood andothers 1985). Presence of preferred forbs, panic*ms, andsedges on a treatment probably affected use because of theselective foraging nature of deer (Vangilder and others 1982).

Screening, bedding, or escape cover may be importantbecause deer were flushed frequently out of beds only in theH-T and CCSP treatments. The shrub component on H-T andCCSP treatments in the O-l m and l-3 m categories wasprimarily pine saplings. Pines probably provided a moredense horizontal cover but this parameter was not measured inthis study. The presence of cover on HT and CCSPtreatments may have increased use on these areas. Deer useincreases on recent clearcuts but is limited to 100 m fromcover on large clearcuts (Tomm and others 1981). As pinestands develop in height on regeneration areas, deer use of thecentral portion of the stand will increase. All portions oflarge (128-276 ha) 4-S year old pine stands were used in asoutheast Oklahoma study (Melchoirs and others 1985).

CONCLUSIONSThe primary values associated with controlled burning andoverstory removal were increased species richness andavailability of preferred food items for deer, elk and possiblybobwhite quail. By varying frequency of fire, managers canshift plant communities to benefit target game species.Winter prescribed fue at l- or 2-year intervals favoredlegumes and created habitat conditions favorable for bobwhitequail. Less frequent burning or no burning allowed woodybrowse species prefered by deer to increase on retrogressedsites (Landers 1987). A prescribed burning rotation at 2- or 3year intervals on retrogressed sites will allow growth ofimportant deer and quail foods. Clearcutting and sitepreparation provide benefits in terms of food and cover fordeer. However benefits from regenerated clearcuts last onlyuntil canopy closure. Site retrogression without burningprovides an important cover component to deer.

Timber management strategies that create a mosaic ofretrogressed burned and unburned sites, and regenerationclearcuts with adequate provisions for hard mast productionshould provide management flexibility to meet habitat needsof most game species. The effects of growing season bumson maintaining retrogressed sites for forage production shouldbe evaluated in a similar manner. The long-term effects ofprescribed fue on vegetation response and site quality inmountainous terrain should also be evaluated.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis project was funded by Oklahoma Federal Aid to WildlifeRestoration Project W-80-R, Study 4, Job 2. The authorreceived assistance in setting up this study from R. Robinsonand J. S. Harrison, and valuable field assistance and technicalsuggestions from R. E. Thackston, R. W. Umber, and M.Thompson.


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LITERATURE CITEDAvery, T. E. 1964. Forest measurements. McGraw-Hill

Co., New York. 290 p.

Anderson, R. C., and L. E. Brown. 1986. Stability andinstability in plant communities following tire. AmericanJournal of Botany 73:364-368.

Bain, W. R., and A. Watterson. J979. Soil survey ofPushmataha County, Oklahoma. U.S. Department ofa*griculture, Soil Conservation Service. 77 p.

Bragg, T. B., and L. C. Hulbert. 1976. Woody plantinvasion of unburned Kansas bluestem prairie. Journal ofRange Management 29:19-24.

Chambers, J. C., and R. W. Brown. 1983. Methods forvegetation sampling and analysis on revegetated minedlands. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.General Technical Report INT-151. lntermountain Forestand Range Experiment Station. Ogden, UT. 57 p.

Fenwood, J. D., D. F. Urbston, and R. F. Harlow. 1984.Determining deer habitat capability in Ouachita NationalForest pine stands. Proceedings of the Annual Conferenceof the Southeast Association of Fish and WildlifeAgencies 38:13-22.

Fenwood, J. D., D. A. Saugey, and C. A. Racchini. 1985.Fall deer food selection in the Ouachita National Forest.Arkansas Academy of Science Proceedings 39: 123.

Hebb, E. A. 1971. Site preparation decreases game foodplants in Florida sandhills. Journal of WildlifeManagement 35:155-162.

Jenks, J. A., D. M. Leslie, Jr., and R. L. Lochmiller. 1990.Food habits and nutritional condition of white-tailed deerand cattle. Final Report, P&man-Robertson Project W-142-R. Game Division, Oklahoma Department of WildlifeConservation, Oklahoma City. 91 p.

Krueger, W. C. 1972. Evaluating animal foragepreference. Journal of Range Management 25:471-475.

Landers, J. L. 1987. Prescribed burning for managingwildlife in southeastern pine forests. In: D. D. Wade,compiler. Prescribed fue and smoke management in thesouth: Conference Proceedings. pp. 19-27. U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. SouthernForest Experiment Station, Asheville, NC.

Lewis, C. E., and T. J. Harshbarger. 1976. Shrub andherbaceous vegetation after 20 years of prescribed burningin the South Carolina Coastal Plain. Journal of RangeManagement 29:13-18.

Lotan, J. E., M. E. Alexander, S. F. Amo, R. E. French,0. G. Langdon, R. M. Loomis, R. A. Norum, R. C.Rothermel, W. C. Schmidt, and J. V. Wagtendonk. 1978.Effects of fire on flora -A state-of-knowledge review.U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. GeneralTechnical Report WO-16. Denver, CO. 71 p.

Ludwig, J. A., and J. F. Reynolds. 1988. Statisticalecology. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. 337 p,

Masters, R. E. 1991. Effects of timber harvest andprescribed fire on wildlife habitat and use in the OuachitaMountains of eastern Oklahoma. Ph.D. Thesis, OklahomaState University, Stillwater. 330 p.

Melchoirs, M. A., T. H. Silker, and J. E. Reeb. 1985. Deeruse of young pine plantations in southeastern Oklahoma.Journal of Wildlife Management 49:958-962.

Mueller-Dombois, D., and H. Ellenberg. 1974. Aims andmethods of vegetational ecology. John Wiley and Sons,Inc., New York 547 p.

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. 1972. Biggame report 1972. Federal Aid in Wildlife RestorationReport. Game Division, Oklahoma City. 22 p.

Oosting, H. 1. 1944. The comparative effect of surface andcrown fire on the composition of a loblolly pinecommunity. Ecology 25:61-69.

Oosting, H. J. 1956. The study of plant communities. W.H. Freeman and Co., San Francisco. 440 p.

Petranka, J. W., and J. K. McPherson. 1979. The role of.m conallina in the dynamics of the forest-prairieFeotone in north-central Oklahoma. Ecology 60:956-965.

Ripley, T; H. 1980. Planning wildlife managementinveatigatio,ns and projects. In: S. D. Schemnitz, ed.,Wildlife mamigement techniques manual. pp l-6. TheWildlife Society, ,Washington, DC.

SAS institute Inc. 1987. SAS procedures guide forPersonal computers, version 6.03 edition. SAS InstituteInc., Cat-y, SC. 373 p.

SAS Institute Inc. 1985. SAS user’s guide: statistics,version 5 edition. SAS Institute Inc., Cat-y, SC. 956 p.


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Segelquist, C. A. and R. E. Pennington. 1968. Deerbrowse in the Ouachita National Forest in Oklahoma.Journal of Wildlife Management 323623626.

Segelquist, C. A., M. Rogers, F. D. Ward, and R. G.Leonard. 1972. Forest habitat and deer populations in anArkansas Ozark enclosure. Proceedings of the AnnualConference of the Southeast Association of Game andFish Commissioners 26: 15-35.

Segelquist, C. A., F. D. Ward, and R. G. Leonard. 1969.Habitat-deer relations in two Ozark enclosures. Journal ofWildlife Management 3351 l-520.

Smith, D. M. 1962. The practice of silviculture, seventhed. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. 578 p.

Steele, R. G. D., and J. H. Torrie. 1980. Principles andprocedures of statistics, a biometrical approach. 2nd ed.McGraw-Hi& Inc., New York. 633 p.

Tomm, H. O., J. A. Beck, Jr., and P. J. Hudson 1981.Response of wild ungulates to logging practices inAlberta. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 11606-614.

Vangilder, L. D., 0. Togerson, and W. R. Porath. 1982.Factors influencing diet selection by white-tailed deer.Journal of Wildlife Management 46:711-718.


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