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Introduction, study area description, and experimental design

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Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Hutchinson, Todd F.; Yaussy, Daniel A.

Year Published

2003

Publication

In: Sutherland, Elaine K.; Hutchinson, Todd F., eds. Characteristics of mixed oak forest ecosystems in southern Ohio prior to the reintroduction of fire. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-299. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. 1-16

Abstract

Throughout much of the Eastern Deciduous Forest, the sustainability of oak-dominated forests is threatened by poor oak regeneration as other tree species increase in abundance. Historically, fire was a frequent process in oak-dominated ecosystems (savannas, woodlands, open-structured forests) as Native Americans and then Euro-American settlers used fire for a variety of purposes. Oaks are well adapted to fire and aggressive fire suppression since ca. 1930 is considered a key factor contributing to the reduced sustainability of oak ecosystems today. As forests become more dense and oak abundance decreases, species adapted to open-structured forests and dependent on hard-mast will likely be affected as well. In 1994, we initiated a multidisciplinary study of prescribed fire as a tool to restore structure, composition, and function to mixed-oak forest ecosystems in southern Ohio. In this chapter we introduce the problem and the rationale for the study. We also describe the experimental design and general characteristics of the climate, physiography, landuse history, fire regimes, and forests of the study areas.

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Citation

Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy; Hutchinson, Todd F.; Yaussy, Daniel A. 2003. Introduction, study area description, and experimental design. In: Sutherland, Elaine K.; Hutchinson, Todd F., eds. Characteristics of mixed oak forest ecosystems in southern Ohio prior to the reintroduction of fire. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-299. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. 1-16

Last updated on: June 4, 2007