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): J. Stephen Brewer
    Date: 2016
    Source: Fire Ecology
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (663.0 KB)


    An important goal of restoring fire to upland oak-dominated communities that have experienced fire exclusion is restoring groundcover plant species diversity and composition indicative of fire-maintained habitats. Several studies have shown that fire alone, however, may not be sufficient to accomplish this goal. Furthermore, treatment-driven declines in rare forest specialists could negate the benefits of ecological restoration in these ecosystems. I present the results of an experiment examining effects of tornado-generated canopy openings and biennial spring burning on groundcover vegetation at an oak-pine forest in north Mississippi, USA. Results from four years of monitoring showed that species richness and abundance of species indicative of fire-maintained open habitats were greater at sites with canopy damage than at sites with undamaged canopies, especially in years without drought. Annual ruderals increased initially following canopy damage but then decreased. Few forest indicator species changed in abundance, and the few that did increased. Canopy openings appeared to have a greater effect than fire on groundcover vegetation, although some legumes and panicgrasses appeared to benefit directly from fire.

    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.


    Brewer, J. Stephen. 2016. Natural canopy damage and the ecological restoration of fire-indicative groundcover vegetation in an oak-pine forest. Fire Ecology 12(2):105-126.  10.4996/fireecology.1202105


    Google Scholar


    canopy damage, diversity, forest, groundcover, habitat, herb, indicator species, North American Coastal Plain, restoration

    Related Search

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