Skip to Main Content
Repeated prescribed fires alter gap-phase regeneration in mixed-oak forestsAuthor(s): Todd F. Hutchinson; Robert P. Long; Joanne Rebbeck; Elaine Kennedy Sutherland; Daniel A. Yaussy
Source: Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 42: 303-314.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
Download Publication (272.86 KB)
Related Research Highlights Repeated Prescribed Fires Help Sustain Oak Regeneration in Eastern Forests
DescriptionOak dominance is declining in the central hardwoods region, as canopy oaks are being replaced by shade-tolerant trees that are abundant in the understory of mature stands. Although prescribed fire can reduce understory density, oak seedlings often fail to show increased vigor after fire, as the canopy remains intact. In this study, we examine the response of tree regeneration to a sequence of repeated prescribed fires followed by canopy gap formation. We sampled advance regeneration (stems >30 cm tall) in 52 gaps formed by synchronous mortality of white oak (Quercus alba L.); 28 gaps were in three burned stands and 24 gaps were in three unburned stands. Five years after gap formation, unburned gaps were being filled by shade-tolerant saplings and poles and were heavily shaded (7% of full sun). By contrast, tolerant saplings had been virtually eliminated in the burned gaps, which averaged 19% of full sun. Larger oak and hickory regeneration was much more abundant in burned gaps, as was sassafras, while shade-tolerant stems were equally abundant in burned and unburned gaps. Our results suggest that the regeneration of oak, particularly that of white oak, may be improved with multiple prescribed fires followed by the creation of moderate-sized canopy gaps (200-400 m2).
- 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.
CitationHutchinson, Todd F.; Long, Robert P.; Rebbeck, Joanne; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Yaussy, Daniel A. 2012. Repeated prescribed fires alter gap-phase regeneration in mixed-oak forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 42: 303-314.
- Repeated fires, canopy gaps, and tree regeneration in Appalachian mixed oak forests
- Changes in forest structure associated with oak decline in severely impacted areas of northern Arkansas
- The association of two invasive shrubs, common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) and Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica), with oak communities in the midwestern United States
XML: View XML