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): Dale BrockwayKenneth W. OutcaltBecky L. Estes
    Date: 2003
    Source: [Abstract]. In: Abstracts, 88th annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, August 3-8 2003, Savannah, Georgia. 46.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: Download Publication  (17 KB)


    Developed during periods of fire exclusion, dense midstory vegetation, that reduces understory plant diversity (competitive shading) and increases the risk of damaging Wildfire (fuel ladder from ground to canopy), has impeded restoration efforts to safely reintroduce prescribed burning in southern pine ecosystems. Our study evaluated the effects of midstory reduction on plant community structure, composition and diversity in forests treated by mechanical means alone and also when followed by prescribed fire during the winter, spring or summer. Mechanical treatment caused declines in overstory and midstory tree density (1220 to 258/ha) and basal area (31 to 18 m2/ha) and a corresponding increases in mean DBH (13 to 29 cm), with the largest reductions in Pinus taeda, Liquidambar styraciftua, Quercus nigra and Q. hemisphaerica. Despite declines in tree species richness (9 to 4) and diversity (1.32 to 0.84), increased evenness (0.72 to 0.85) indicated improved distribution equity among residua1s. Understory tree cover declined 17% overall and cover increases of 9% were observed for shrubs & vines (Smilax and Vitis expansion) and grasses (Chasmanthium appearance). Forb cover increases were very modest, averaging < 4%. Understory plant diversity remained generally unchanged following treatment, with increases noted for species richness corresponding to declines in evenness. While not producing large initial growth increases in herbaceous plants, prescribed fire is needed following mechanical treatment to stimulate grasses and forbs and curtail redevelopment of the woody plant midstory.

    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.


    Brockway, Dale G.; Outcalt, Kenneth W.; Estes, Becky L. 2003. Restoring Southern Pine Forests Ecosystems: Plant Community Response to Mechanical Midstory History Reduction and Prescribed Fire on Sandhills at Fort Benning Georgia. [Abstract]. In: Abstracts, 88th annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, August 3-8 2003, Savannah, Georgia. 46.

    Related Search

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