Skip to Main Content
Distribution and demographics of Ailanthus altissima in an oak forest landscape managed with timber harvesting and prescribed fireAuthor(s): Joanne Rebbeck; Todd Hutchinson; Louis Iverson; Daniel Yaussy; Timothy Fox
Source: Forest Ecology and Management
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
View PDF (1.0 MB)
DescriptionAilanthus altissima ((Mill.) Swingle, tree-of-heaven), an exotic invasive tree that is common throughout much of the eastern United States, can invade and expand dramatically when forests are disturbed. Anecdotal evidence suggests that fire facilitates its spread, but the relationship between fire and this prolific invasive tree is poorly understood. To better understand the impacts of fire on Ailanthus, we conducted studies at Tar Hollow State Forest in southeastern Ohio, where Ailanthus is widely distributed and where, since 2001, prescribed fire has been applied to 25% of the 3885-ha study area. Our objective was to gain a better understanding of how the distribution and abundance of Ailanthus is related to recent fires, harvesting activity, and site characteristics. We quantified the abundance and demography of Ailanthus, as well as prescribed fire, harvesting, aspect, slope, and available light, using a systematic grid (400 m) of sample plots (N = 267). From these data, we identified time since last timber harvest, not prescribed fire history, as the major driver of both Ailanthus seedling and tree presence and density. Two site factors, aspect index (a transformation of aspect) and photosynthetically active radiation, were also significant predictors of seedling presence or density. These findings to demonstrate that dormant-season prescribed fire has a limited impact on the distribution of Ailanthus within forested landscapes and that recent timber harvesting (within 20 years) is the primary predictor. Thus, care in harvesting to prevent soil disturbance and spread of Ailanthus seed is paramount when managing for this aggressive species.
- 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.
CitationRebbeck, Joanne; Hutchinson, Todd; Iverson, Louis; Yaussy, Daniel; Fox, Timothy. 2017. Distribution and demographics of Ailanthus altissima in an oak forest landscape managed with timber harvesting and prescribed fire. Forest Ecology and Management. 401: 233-241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2017.06.050.
KeywordsSilviculture, Non-native invasive tree, Demography, Management practices, Quercus
- Ailanthus altissima interfers with beneficial symbionts and negetively [sic] impacts oak regeneration
- Foliage feeding tests of Eucryptorrhynchus brandti (Harold) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), a potential biological control agent of the tree-of-heaven, Ailanthus altissima
- Potential for using Verticillium albo-atrum as a biocontrol agent for tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
XML: View XML