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Effects of fire on naturally occurring blue oak (Quercus douglasii) saplingsAuthor(s): Tedmund J. Swiecki; Elizabeth Bernhardt
Source: In: Standiford, Richard B., et al, tech. editor. Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on Oak Woodlands: Oaks in California's Challenging Landscape. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-184, Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 251-259
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
PDF: View PDF (290 KB)
DescriptionWe studied the survival and regrowth of naturally-occurring blue oak saplings burned in a September 1996 arson fire in Vacaville, California. The saplings (pre-fire height 33-353 cm) were burned in a rapid, low-moderate intensity fire. Of 67 blue oak saplings surveyed, 4 failed to resprout after the fire and 2 more died within the following 5 years (9 percent mortality overall); all mortality was among saplings less than 100 cm tall. Saplings which were completely topkilled (51/67) were significantly smaller on average than those which were only partially topkilled (12/67). Saplings taller than 201 cm or with a stem diameter greater than 5.6 cm at 30 cm height were only partially topkilled. Only 20 percent of the completely topkilled saplings had regained both their post-fire height and diameter by 5 years after the fire. Height growth of new shoots from completely topkilled saplings was highest in the first year after the fire, but declined in succeeding years. High levels of vole damage in resprouted topkilled saplings has adversely affected growth and shoot survival. Our observations indicate that fire negatively impacts small blue oak saplings and does not favor blue oak regeneration, as has been suggested by other authors.
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CitationSwiecki, Tedmund J.; Bernhardt, Elizabeth. 2002. Effects of fire on naturally occurring blue oak (Quercus douglasii) saplings. In: Standiford, Richard B., et al, tech. editor. Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on Oak Woodlands: Oaks in California''s Challenging Landscape. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-184, Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 251-259
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