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Precommercial Thinning a Sapling-Sized Loblolly Pine Stand with Fire

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A winter backing-fire in a natural 4-year-old loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) stand reduced stand density from 6,800 to 2,850 stems/ac, producing the effect of a thinning from below. Crown scorch was heavy, but needle consumption was infrequent. Mortality occurred when crown scorch exceeded 80% or needle consumption exceeded 20%. Much of the study area remained overstocked after burning and only a few areas within study plots were understocked. Diameter growth of surviving trees 1 year after burning was unaffected, but height growth was reduced by 33% compared to trees in unburned control plots. Growth of the first three flushes of terminal buds was reduced by prescribed burning, regardless of the degree of crown damage. Severe crown scorch caused an additional growth loss during the first flush. Additional research is required to develop guidelines for using fire for precommercial thinning. South. J. Appl. For. 12(3): 203-207.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: USDA Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Department of Forestry, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-1003

Publication date: August 1, 1988

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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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