Prescribed fire and brush removal affect vegetation, fuel loads, and abundance of selected beetle populations in pine standsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Three forest sites were selected in Louisiana in early 2001. On each site, three treatments were applied: (1) Check: no further management; (2) PF: prescribed fire was applied in May 2001 and June 2003; and (3) PF-MPC: between the two prescribed fires, midstory and understory woody vegetation was masticated with mechanical equipment in July 2002. Management did not change overstory composition, and basal area per ha increased on all treatments through February 2005. Percentage of understory arborescent cover also increased, although less so on PF and PF-MPC treatments than Checks. Herbaceous plant cover decreased on all treatments through August 2004, and increased shading and crowding were the likely reasons. Both PF and PF-MPC reduced 10-hour time-lag dead fuels but did not affect 1-hour or 100-hour fuels. Abundance of pine bark beetles, Dendroctonus terebrans, Hylastes salebrosus, H. tenuis, and Ips spp., and root-feeding weevils, Hylobius pales and Pachylobius picivorous, increased after each prescribed fire but not after mastication.