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Tree Regeneration in Oak‐Pine Stands with and without Prescribed Fire in the New Jersey Pine Barrens: Management Implications

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Abstract:

This is a case study comparing understory tree regeneration in two mixedwood stands types in the New Jersey Pine Barrens: oak‐pine treated with prescribed fire over the last half century (burned) and oak‐pine without a history of controlled burning (unburned). Understories of burned stands supported mainly desirable oak (Quercus spp.) and pine (Pinus spp.) regeneration (0.3 ft tall, <3 in. dbh), whereas the understories of unburned stands supported a greater abundance of undesirable, nonoak hardwoods (mainly sassafras [Sassafras albidum]) along with good numbers of oak regeneration and, unexpectedly, pine saplings (≥4.5 ft tall, <3 in. dbh). A regime of prescribed fire applied on an ∼6-year interval during the last half century appears to have reduced or excluded nonoak hardwoods, with the exception of hickory (Carya spp.). Maintaining oak‐pine mixtures on sites similar to the unburned stands used in this study may require silvicultural intervention.

Keywords: controlled burning; pinelands; understory vegetation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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