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Understory Response to Disturbance: An Investigation of Prescribed Burning and Understory Removal TreatmentsAuthor(s): Benjamin J. Dolan; George R. Parker
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-73. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 285-291
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionLack of disturbance in the Central Hardwood Region has caused a decrease in abundance of shade-intolerant species, such as oaks (Quercus spp.) and hickories (Carya spp.), while shade-tolerant species have proliferated in the understory. The goal of this research is to determine how two disturbances, prescribed fire and mechanical understory removal, affect woody species regeneration, as well as herbaceous species diversity. Preliminary analysis indicates that all treatments had little effect on herbaceous species diversity; however, prescribed burning changed the composition of woody species seedlings. While fire top-killed most seedlings, regardless of shade tolerance, shade-intolerant species responded by resprouting. As a result of the reduction in the number of shade-tolerant species, burning treatments produced greater equitability among tolerant and intolerant species seedlings. Removal treatments increased the level of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) reaching the forest floor, while a combination of burning and removal provided both greater equitability among species and higher levels of PAR.
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CitationDolan, Benjamin J.; Parker, George R. 2004. Understory Response to Disturbance: An Investigation of Prescribed Burning and Understory Removal Treatments. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-73. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 285-291
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