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Management of Red Pine for Multiple Benefits Using Prescribed Fire

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An aspect of the silviculture of mature stands of red pine heretofore neglected by forestland managers in northeastern North America is prescribed burning (underburning). This paper presents a technical discussion of prescribed burning and its application to red pine managed for timber, wildlife habitat, aesthetics, or other purposes. The author draws on relevant conifer literature, as well as his own experience with burning under red pine. Topics addressed include the effects of prescribed fire on (1)overstory tree growth, (2) understory plants and pine regeneration, (3) soil properties, (4) soil organisms, pests and diseases, and (5) wildlife habitat. Also considered are the environmental impacts of prescribed underburning and its use in wildfire hazard reduction. Elements of the practical application of prescribed burning also are discussed, including proper weather and fuel conditions for burning. Burning under mature red pine stands can provide many benefits with little risk of overstory mortality, wildfire escape, or environmental damage. This paper should encourage managers to include prescribed underburning in the silvicultural palate of this important forest species. North. J. Appl. For. 10(2):53-62.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Forestry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1222

Publication date: 01 June 1993

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