Seed bank response to prescribed fire in the central Appalachians.
Pre- and post-treatment seed-bank characteristics of woody species were compared after two prescribed fires in a mesic mixed-oak forest in the central Appalachians. Nineteen woody species were identified from soil samples. Mean species richness declined but evenness did not after prescribed burning. The seed bank was dominated by black birch, yellow-poplar, blackberry, grapevine and Hercules club before burning. Following burning, the median density of seed bank propagules declined by 45 percent. Black birch, yellow-poplar, and grapevine declined by 69, 56, and 40 percent, respectively. The results illustrate the importance of the seed bank as a robust source of non-oak regeneration in mixed-oak forests and of the potential effect of fire in altering it.