Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Michael A. Jenkins; Robert N. Klein; Virginia L. McDaniel
    Date: 2011
    Source: Forest Ecology and Management 262(4):681-691
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (454.68 KB)


    We used pre- and post-burn fire effects data from six prescribed burns to examine post-burn threshold effects of stand structure (understory density, overstory density, shrub cover, duff depth, and total fuel load) on the regeneration of yellow pine (Pinus subgenus Diploxylon) seedlings and cover of herbaceous vegetation in six prescribed-fire management units located within western Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) in east Tennessee, USA. We also evaluated the utility of the Keetch–Byram Drought Index (KBDI) as a predictor of post-burn stand and fuel conditions by comparing post-burn stand variables for different ranges of KBDI (23–78; more wet, and 328–368; more dry). We found that yellow pine seedlings were effectively absent in post-burn forests until overstory density was reduced over 40%, understory density was reduced over 80%, and post-burn shrub cover was 10% or less. We also observed that a reduction in total fuels of 60% and a post-burn duff layer depth of less than four cm were required for successful regeneration of yellow pine. Total herbaceous species cover exhibited near identical responses with increased cover following an 80% reduction in understory density and a post-burn duff depth of less than 4 cm. We observed strong positive relationships between high KBDI values and burn severity, changes in forest structure, reductions in fuels, and post-burn yellow pine reproduction. We observed continuous recruitment of yellow pine seedlings 5 years after fire in high KBDI burns while low KBDI burns showed little change in yellow pine density through time. An intense outbreak of the southern pine beetle (SPB; Dendroctonus frontalis) occurred within 2 years of our high KBDI burns and reduced shading resulting from overstory mortality likely enhanced the survival of yellow pine seedlings. The results of this study provide targets for the application of prescribed fire to restore yellow pine in the southern Appalachians. Continued research and monitoring will help determine how prescribed fire can best be applied in combination with other disturbance agents such as SPB to perpetuate yellow pine forests.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • 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.


    Jenkins, Michael A.; Klein, Robert N.; McDaniel, Virginia L. 2011. Yellow pine regeneration as a function of fire severity and post-burn stand structure in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Forest Ecology and Management 262(4):681-691.


    fire effects, fuel reduction, prescribed fire, disturbance regimes, ecological restoration, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, southern pine beetle

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page