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Twenty Years of Prescribed Burning Influence the Development of Direct-Seeded Longleaf Pine on a Wet Pine Site in Louisiana

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Prescribed burning treatments were applied over a 20 yr period in a completely randomized field study to determine the effects of various fire regimes on vegetation in a direct seeded stand of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.). Seeding was done in November 1968. The study area was broadcast-burned about 16 months after seeding. The initial research treatments were applied in 1973, and as many as 12 research burns were applied through 1993. Pines were measured in March 1995. Prescribed burning resulted in a greater stocking of longleaf pine (an average of 598 trees/ac) on treated plots than on unburned plots (30 trees/ac). However, on the burned treatments, longleaf pines were significantly smaller (2.5 ft³/tree of stemwood) than were the unburned trees (3.7ft³/tree of stemwood). Half of the treated plots were burned in early March, and the other half were burned in early May. Seasons of burning did not significantly influence longleaf pine stocking. However, use of fire in May resulted in significantly greater basal area (100 ft²/ac) and stemwood production (1,921 ft³/ac) than burning in March (59 ft²/ac and 909 ft³/ac). Fire effectively kept natural loblolly pine (P. taeda L.) seedlings from reaching sapling size, but loblolly saplings and poles dominated the unburned plots (710 trees/ac). When all pines were considered on all treatments, stocking ranged from 467 to 740 trees/ac, but stocking was not significantly different among treatments. The unburned plots had significantly greater total basal area (149 ft²/ac) and stemwood productivity (2,918 ft³/ac) than the burned treatments (82 ft²/ac and 1,459 ft³ /ac). Likewise, hardwoods that were at least 1 in. dbh were more common on unburned p lots (327 stems/ac) than on burned treatments (58 stems/ac). South. J. Appl. For. 24(2):86-92.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: (Retired), USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Pineville, LA 71360

Publication date: 01 May 2000

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