Publication Details

What fire frequency is appropriate for shortleaf pine regeneration and survival?

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Stambaugh, Michael C.; Guyette, Richard P.; Dey, Daniel C.

Year Published

2007

Publication

In: Kabrick, John M.; Dey, Daniel C.; Gwaze, David, eds. Shortleaf pine restoration and ecology in the Ozarks: proceedings of a symposium; 2006 November 7-9; Springfield, MO. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-15. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 121-128.

Abstract

Shortleaf pine community restoration requires an answer to the question, "What fire frequency is appropriate for shortleaf pine regeneration and survival?" The answer to this question is one of the most critical to successful restoration through fire management. We used three sources of information from Missouri to determine appropriate burning frequencies: a 400-yr historic shortleaf pine growth and fi re-scar database, fire effects data from prescribed burning sites, and a vegetation dynamics prediction model that is widely used for characterizing fire regimes. The historic shortleaf pine and fire scar database provides actual past scenarios of regeneration dates, growth, survival, and associated fi re events. Shortleaf pine regeneration established most commonly during the 4 years following fire events and generally decreased in abundance with years since fire. Surviving seedlings were those that were not fire scarred the year following establishment, and the mean number of years to a subsequent fire was about 7 years. Fire effects data from prescribed burn sites revealed that both hardwood and pine regeneration showed substantially increased mortality after four consecutive dormant season burns, but oak and hickory species were more likely to survive frequent fire. Mortality of advance regeneration was generally low in all hardwood species after one burn, while shortleaf pine seedlings had high mortality rates. The model showed 8 to 15 yr intervals are likely best for balancing both continual regeneration and recruitment. Model prediction runs for 500 years showed a significantly decreased pine component in the absence of burning. Conversely, long-term frequent burning (1- to 3-yr intervals) resulted in abundant regeneration, but poor survival and ultimately decreased abundance in mid- and late-successional forests. In summary, all three sources support the efficacy of frequent burning (1 to 4 yrs) in promoting pine regeneration, but survival and continued recruitment require longer fire intervals (8 to 15 yrs). Fire management prescriptions that incorporate both frequent burning and longer intervals will likely provide for the most long-term regeneration and recruitment success.

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Citation

Stambaugh, Michael C.; Guyette, Richard P.; Dey, Daniel C. 2007. What fire frequency is appropriate for shortleaf pine regeneration and survival?. In: Kabrick, John M.; Dey, Daniel C.; Gwaze, David, eds. Shortleaf pine restoration and ecology in the Ozarks: proceedings of a symposium; 2006 November 7-9; Springfield, MO. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-15. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 121-128.

Last updated on: October 22, 2007