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Fuels Management Reduces Tree Mortality from Wildfires In Southeastern United States

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The objective was to determine the effectiveness of a regular prescribed burning program for reducing tree mortality in southern pine forests burned by wildfire. This study was conducted on public and industry lands in northeast Florida. On the Osceola National Forest, mean mortality was 35% in natural stands and 43% in plantations two growing seasons after a June 1998 wildfire. Burn history significantly affected mortality with those stands prescribe-burned 1.5 yr prior to the wildfire having the lowest mortality, while stands prescribe-burned 2 or more years prior had higher mortality. Although significant tree mortality did occur on the Osceola National Forest, with all trees killed in some stands, many trees in other burned stands did survive. The overall mortality was lower in both plantations and natural stands on the Osceola than at Tiger Bay where prescribed burning had been less frequent. The highest mortality rates occurred on the Lake Butler Forest where prescribed burning had not been used since plantation establishment. Thus, a regular prescribed burning program will reduce mortality following wildfires in both natural and planted stands of southern pines on flatwoods sites, even when wildfires occur under severe drought conditions. South. J. Appl. For. 28(1):28–34.
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Keywords: Prescribed burning; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; longleaf pine; mortality; natural resource management; natural resources; slash pine; wildfire

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: USDA Forest Service 320 Green St. Athens GA 30602, Email: 2: USDA Forest Service 320 Green St. Athens GA 30602

Publication date: 2004-02-01

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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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