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Volume Growth Loss: A Hidden Cost of Periodic Prescribed Burning in Longleaf Pine?

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The influence of understory hardwood control treatments, including periodic prescribed burning, on the growth of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) was monitored over a 10-yr period. Treatments, established in 14-yr-old sapling stands thinned to 500 trees/ac, included biennial prescribed burns in (1) winter, (2) spring, (3) summer, and (4) an unburned check. Each of these was combined with three supplemental treatments: (1) initial chemical treatment of all hardwood stems, (2) repeated handclearing of all woody stems, and (3) no treatment. All measures of pine growth were significantly reduced by the burns. Pine volume growth over the first 7 years on unburned plots exceeded the average on burned plots by 23% (24 ft³/ac/ yr). During the next 3 years, volume growth on unburned plots exceeded the average on burned plots even more--by 33% (44 ft³/ac/yr). Supplemental treatments did not affect pine growth, even though plots without these treatments developed hardwood stands (>l.5-in. dbh) ranging from 4.0 ft² basal area/ac with summer burns to 11.6 ft² on unburned plots. South. J. Appl. For. 11(3):154-157.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: George W. Andrews Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Auburn University, AL 36849

Publication date: 1987-08-01

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  • 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 Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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