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Restoring Upland Forests to Longleaf Pine: Initial Effects on Fuel Load, Fire Danger, Forest Vegetation, and Beetle Populations

Author(s): Haywood, James D.; Bauman, Tessa A.; Goyer, Richard A.; Harris, Finis L.

  • Date: 2004
  • Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–71. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 299-303
  • Station ID: --


Without fire in the Southeastern United States, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) often becomes the overstory dominant on sites historically dominated by longleaf pine (P. palustris Mill.). Beneath the loblolly pine canopy a mature midstory and understory develops of woody vegetation supporting draped fuels. The resulting deep shade and accumulation of litter nearly eliminates herbaceous vegetation. To avoid this outcome, on most upland sites a series of treatments can ensure the restoration of longleaf pine plant communities and lessen the danger of wildfires. Burning in heavy fuels, however, may injure and weaken pine trees, favoring detrimental insects, such as bark beetles. This Joint Fire Science Program project was established to study how several management options affect fuel load, fire danger, vegetation, and beetle populations in loblolly pine, mixed pine, and longleaf pine stands. We report first and second growing-season results.

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