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Effects of Seasonal Prescribed Fires on Residual Overstory Trees in Oak-Dominated Shelterwood Stands

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A study was initiated in 1994 to evaluate the degree of bole damage and crown decline residual overstory trees would experience because of prescribed burning of shelterwood stands. Three oak-dominated shelterwood stands, partially harvested 2 to 4 yr earlier, were divided into four treatments (unburned control, spring burn, summer burn, and winter burn). Fifteen permanent sampling points were systematically located in each 5 to 12 ac treatment area, and overstory trees were selected from these points with a 10 BAF prism. Before burning, each tree was evaluated for lower bole and crown condition and reevaluated two growing seasons after the fires. Hickory, oak, and yellow-poplar were largely unaffected by the winter and summer prescribed fires but displayed bole damage and crown decline following spring burning. American beech and red maple declined after all fire treatments. Fire damage to oak, hickory, and yellow-poplar was strongly associated to presence of logging slash near a tree's base. Directional felling or moving slash should minimize injury to these trees. This research will aid resource managers wishing to use prescribed fire in shelterwood stands to favor oak regeneration while minimizing damage to residual overstory oaks. South. J. Appl. For. 23(2):88-93.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Forest Resources, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-1003

Publication date: 1999-05-01

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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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