Skip to Main Content
Use of comparison areas rather than controls in a study of fuels in invaded forests of the northeast and mid-Atlantic statesAuthor(s): Alison C. Dibble
Source: In: Proceedings, Society of American Foresters 2003 national convention; 2003 October 25-29; Buffalo, NY. Bethesda, MD: Society of American Foresters: 319-324.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
Station: Northeastern Research Station
PDF: View PDF (440.49 KB)
DescriptionIn paired studies where the comparison is between a treated and untreated forest area, the unrnanipulated stand is often called a control. The two areas might not be consistent in forest cover type, understory plant communities, disturbance history, soils, slope, and aspect. To enhance rigor in forest research, the reference stand should receive more scrutiny and, unless it matches the treated area well, can be regarded as a comparison area rather than a control. For example, in a new study of interactions between fire and invasive plants, we sought paired areas - one that was heavily invaded by exotic plants, and a nearby or contiguous uninvaded area. Among our 13 pairs at 12 sites, we found a few stands that were completely fiee of exotic plants, but most of our comparison areas were compromised by one or more small, patchy populations of invasive species. This might not matter, as we found significant differences between invaded and uninvaded conditions, especially in fine fuels. Invasive plants alter the fuel bed in pitch pine stands where invasion by black locust leads to substantial reduction in fine fuels. Fire return interval and fire intensity are expected to decrease in such situations. Where invasive grasses such as Japanese stiltgrass or wood blue-grass are present, grass fuels are much more abundant in invaded forests. This could lead to rapid spread of wildfire in a dry year. Though we lacked ideal controls, the mostly uninvaded comparison areas provided an opportunity to understand how fuel loads differ when invasive plants are present.
- 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.
CitationDibble, Alison C. 2004. Use of comparison areas rather than controls in a study of fuels in invaded forests of the northeast and mid-Atlantic states. In: Proceedings, Society of American Foresters 2003 national convention; 2003 October 25-29; Buffalo, NY. Bethesda, MD: Society of American Foresters: 319-324.
Keywordsreference conditions, wildland urban interface, fire, fuels, invasive plants
- Germination, survival, and early growth of three invasive plants in response to five forest management regimes common to US northeastern deciduous forests
- Integrating management techniques to restore sites invaded by mile-a-minute weed, Persicaria perfoliata
- Decoupling litter barrier and soil moisture influences on the establishment of an invasive grass
XML: View XML