Publication Details

Effects of long-term prescribed burning on timber value in hardwood forests of the Missouri Ozarks

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Knapp, Benjamin O.; Marschall, Joseph M.; Stambaugh, Michael C.

Year Published

2017

Publication

In: Kabrick, John M.; Dey, Daniel C.; Knapp, Benjamin O.; Larsen, David R.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Stelzer, Henry E., eds. Proceedings of the 20th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2016 March 28-April 1; Columbia, MO. General Technical Report NRS-P-167. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 304-313.

Abstract

Prescribed fire is commonly used for restoring and managing oak woodlands but raises concern over the risk of value loss to timber products. We used a long-term prescribed burning study to quantify standing timber volume and stumpage value, fire scar presence and size, and timber value loss in comparison to unburned stands. Three study treatments were initiated in 1949: annual burning (Annual; 1-year fire return interval), periodic burning (Periodic; 4-year fire return interval), and no burning (Control). In 2013, we measured the diameter at breast height (d.b.h.) and merchantable height of each overstory tree of sawtimber size (≥ 9.5 inches d.b.h.), from which standing volume and stumpage value were calculated. We measured the dimensions of each fire scar that was present and determined percent value loss based on previously published equations. We found that 4.8 percent of the overstory trees were scarred in the Annual plots compared to 54.8 percent in Periodic plots. At the stand level, percent value loss from fire damage was estimated to be less than 1 percent on Annual plots and less than 3 percent on Periodic plots. However, the stumpage values of Annual plots and Periodic plots were 29.9 percent and 34.3 percent lower than that of the Control plots, respectively, due to lower standing volume and greater prevalence of low-value species (i.e., post oak [Quercus stellata Wangenh.]). These results suggest that long-term, frequent prescribed burning affects stand-level timber value primarily through effects on stand structure and composition rather than fire damage.

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Citation

Knapp, Benjamin O.; Marschall, Joseph M.; Stambaugh, Michael C. 2017. Effects of long-term prescribed burning on timber value in hardwood forests of the Missouri Ozarks. In: Kabrick, John M.; Dey, Daniel C.; Knapp, Benjamin O.; Larsen, David R.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Stelzer, Henry E., eds. Proceedings of the 20th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2016 March 28-April 1; Columbia, MO. General Technical Report NRS-P-167. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 304-313.

Last updated on: March 15, 2017