Skip to Main Content
Due to a lapse in federal funding, this USDA website will not be actively updated. Once funding has been reestablished, online operations will continue.
Ecophysiological responses of two herbaceous species to prescribed burning, alone or in combination with overstory thinningAuthor(s): Jianjun Huang; Ralph E.J. Boerner; Joanne Rebbeck
Source: American Journal of Botany. 94(5): 755-763.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: View PDF (280.24 KB)
DescriptionThe oak-rich deciduous forests of the central Appalachian Mountains of eastern North America have changed significantly since the onset of effective fire suppression early in the 20th century. Those changes have resulted in progressively decreasing light and nutrient supplies to herbaceous perennial understory species. Application of ecological restoration treatments such as reintroduction of frequent dormant-season fire and overstory thinning to pre-suppression density often increase light, soil temperature and moisture, and short-term nutrient availability to pre-suppression levels. To persist in this environment, perennial understory herbs must be able to acclimate phenotypically to the very different resource supply combinations present with and without fire suppression. As part of a larger study of the response of the long-lived herbaceous perennials Desmodium nudiflorum, and Panicum boscii to ecosystem restoration treatments in Ohio mixed-oak forests, this study examined the ecophysiological effects of prescribed burning (B) and the combination of burning and thinning (T + B) in mixed-oak forests in southern Ohio. Control (C) plants had significantly lower maximum photosynthetic rate (Amax) than those in the treated plots. The enhancement of Amax averaged 26.7% and 52.7% in the B and T + B treatments, respectively. Plants from the T + B plots had higher quantum yield, stomatal conductance, and photosynthetic nutrient use efficiency than B and C plants. B plants had greater intrinsic water use efficiency (WUE) than plants in the C or T?B treatments. Light saturation point (LSP), light compensation point (LCP), and "dark" respiration (DR) did not differ among treatments. Photosynthetic parameters did vary significantly between the species, but no significant treatment 3 species interactions were detected. Our results support the hypothesis that prescribed burning, especially when combined with overstory thinning, in these perennial herbs can result in phenotypic acclimation characterized by enhanced photosynthetic performance.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationHuang, Jianjun; Boerner, Ralph E.J.; Rebbeck, Joanne. 2007. Ecophysiological responses of two herbaceous species to prescribed burning, alone or in combination with overstory thinning. American Journal of Botany. 94(5): 755-763.
Keywordsburning, herb, photosynthetic rate, thinning, water use efficiency
- Interactive effects of resource availabilities and defoliation on photosynthesis, growth, and mortality of red oak seedlings
- Leaf nitrogen assimilation and partitioning differ among subtropical forest plants in response to canopy addition of nitrogen treatments
- Consequences of salinity and freezing stress for two populations of Quercus virginiana Mill
XML: View XML