Ten-year responses of oak regeneration to prescribed fire


Prescribed fire has proven effective in controlling vegetative competition of oak regeneration across many sites in the southeastern US most fire investigations have been performed in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain. Land managers lake definitive knowledge on how to use prescribed fire to improve long-term oak regeneration success in the southern Appalachians. Several short-term (less than 5 years) southern highland studies suggest that fire effects vary widely by site quality. I installed a shelterwood/underburn study in 1995 on a highly acidic cove in the southern Appalachians to test the hypothesis that prescribed fire would enable advanced oak regeneration to survive and grow to dominant status at canopy closure in the presence of aggressive tree and shrub competition. I theorized that fire would discriminate against competitors less well adapted to fire than the oaks. By 2005 the understory canopy had started to close; I found that prescribed fire did not improve the probability that oak seedlings would survive or attain dominance in the understory canopy. However, seedling basal diameter growth was positively related to fire-caused reductions in forest litter mass; many oak seedlings re-sprouted after fire and quickly gained stem girth. This increased basal diameter result mirrors that of many investigators. Increasing basal diameters and root systems caused by repeated disturbance can invigorate oak seedlings and enable them to quickly grow in height within they receive increases in photysnthetically active radiation caused by forest gaps.

  • Citation: Berg, Erik; Clinton, Barry; Vose, Jim; Swank, Wayne. 2011. Ten-year responses of oak regeneration to prescribed fire. In: Proceedings of the 2011 Society of American Foresters National Convention. December 2011. Journal of Forestry. 109(8): 310-311. 2 p.
  • Posted Date: February 6, 2012
  • Modified Date: April 29, 2015
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.