Skip to Main Content
Within-stand variation in understorey vegetation affects fire behaviour in longleaf pine xeric sandhillsAuthor(s): Evelyn S. Wenk; G. Geoff Wang; Joan L. Walker
Source: International Journal of Wildland Fire 20(7): 866-875
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
Download Publication (361.08 KB)
DescriptionThe frequent fires typical of the longleaf pine ecosystem in the south-eastern USA are carried by live understorey vegetation and pine litter. Mature longleaf pine stands in the xeric sandhills region have a variable understory vegetation layer, creating several fuel complexes at the within-stand scale (20 m2). We identified three fuel complexes found in frequently burned stands on the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, and used prescribed fire to test whether distinct sets of fire conditions were associated with each fuel complex. Study plots were dominated by either turkey oak or wiregrass in the understorey, or lacked understorey vegetation and contained only longleaf pine litter. Turkey oak-dominated plots had the highest fuel loads, and during burns they had higher total net heat flux than wiregrass- or longleaf pine litter-dominated plots, and longer burn durations than wiregrass-dominated plots. Across all plots, the quantity of litter fragments had the greatest effect on fire temperature and duration of burn. These results show that the patchy understorey vegetation within longleaf pine stands will create heterogeneous fires, and areas dominated by turkey oak may have increased fire intensity and soil heating compared with the other two fuel complexes.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
CitationWenk, Evelyn S.; Wang, G. Geoff; Walker, Joan L. 2011. Within-stand variation in understorey vegetation affects fire behaviour in longleaf pine xeric sandhills. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 20(7): 866-875. 10 p.
Keywordsfire temperature, fuel complex, fuel heterogeneity, turkey oak, wiregrass
- Understory fuel variation at the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge: a description of chemical and physical properties
- Allometry of the pyrophytic Aristida in fire-maintained longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystems
- Restoring longleaf pine wiregrass ecosystems: plant cover, diversity and biomass following low-rate hexazinone application on Florida sandhills
XML: View XML