The use of prescribed fire to sustain oak forests has increased rapidly in the last decade as the threat of poor regeneration and increased dominance of shade tolerant or fire sensitive tree species grows. While prescribed fire can favor oak regeneration, it may also increase the invasion and expansion of nonnative invasive plant species (NNIS). Little is known about the effects of fire on invasives in eastern U.S. oak forests. The majority of knowledge regarding the response of NNIS is anecdotal as managers have reported the expansion of invasives such as tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima
) and princess tree (Paulownia tomentosa
) following prescribed fires. How can prescribed fire be used so that it does not facilitate the expansion of NNIS? Managers need to be proactive and integrate NNIS control strategies into prescribed fire and timber management programs at a landscape level. This paper presents a review of the current state of knowledge regarding woody NNIS and the use of prescribed fire in the Eastern United States. It includes a summary of the common traits of NNIS, potential responses of woody NNIS to fire, proactive approaches to managing for NNIS, and a list of recommended resources related to NNIS and forest management practices. In addition, an overview of the author's current work on the effects of prescribed fire on Ailanthus
in southeastern Ohio is presented.
Rebbeck, Joanne. 2012. Fire management and woody invasive plants in oak ecosystems. In: Dey, Daniel C.; Stambaugh, Michael C.; Clark, Stacy L.; Schweitzer, Callie J., eds. Proceedings of the 4th fire in eastern oak forests conference; 2011 May 17-19; Springfield, MO. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-102. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 142-155.