Forest ecology and management
Over a period of 16 years, unburned longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) pole stands grew an average of 27% more volume than similar stands regularly burned. Treatments included biennial burns in winter, spring, and summer plus an unburned check, each of which was combined with three supplemental treatments, namely, initial herbicide injection of all hardwoods, repeated handclearing of all woody stems, and no treatment. All unburned and winter-burned plots were paired to study this growth reduction relative to treatments. The status of nitrogen, phosphorus, available moisture holding capacity, bulk density, and macropore space was determined in both sur- face and subsurface soils. Foliage from pines on sampled plots was analyzed for N, P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn, Cu, Fe, and Zn. Burning did not significantly affect either soil N and P or foliar nutrients. However, burning reduced available moisture holding capacity and macropore space and increased the bulk density of surface soils, and also reduced the moisture-holding capacity of subsurface soils. The results from this and other studies suggest that growth losses are due, at least in part, to increased moisture stress associated with changes in soil physical properties.