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Initial effects of prescribed burning and thinning on plant communities in the Southeast Missouri ozarksAuthor(s): E.R. McMurry; Rose-Marie Muzika; E.F. Loewenstein; K.W. Grabner; G.W. Hartman
Source: e-Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–101. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station: 198-205 [CD-ROM].
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionA study examining the effectiveness of prescribed fire and thinning as fuel reduction tools was initiated in the southeast Missouri Ozarks in 2001. Vegetation plots were established throughout 12 stands in each of 3 replicate blocks to monitor the effects of fire, thinning, and a combination of fire and thinning on the overstory, understory, and ground flora communities. The study was stratified across north facing slopes, south facing slopes, and ridge tops to discern the influence of topographic position on the treatments and on the resulting vegetation. Prior to treatment, overstory communities in all topographic positions were dominated by black oak (Quercus velutina Lam.) and white oak (Q. alba L.), and had relatively low diversity and evenness. Understory woody vegetation was dominated by red maple (Acer rubrum L.) on northern slopes, white oak (Q. alba L.) on ridges, and sassafras (Sassafras albidum [Nutt.] Nees) on southern slopes. Immediate and marked changes in the vegetative structure and species composition resulted from the initial burn, thinning, and combined treatments. Burning caused shifts in dominance by physiognomic group, with forbs, grasses, and sedges increasing, while woody tree, vine, and shrub species decreased. Thinning did not significantly affect physiognomic composition in the first year following treatment, and thinned plots were very similar to controls. Topographic position appeared to have more influence on ground flora composition than treatment in the first two years of the study. Continued monitoring may provide insight into the viability of using prescribed fire and thinning for ecosystem restoration in addition to fuel reduction.
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CitationMcMurry, E.R.; Muzika, Rose-Marie; Loewenstein, E.F.; Grabner, K.W.; Hartman, G.W. 2007. Initial effects of prescribed burning and thinning on plant communities in the Southeast Missouri ozarks. e-Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–101. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station: 198-205 [CD-ROM].
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