Survival of hardwood seedlings and saplings following overstory thinning and prescribed fires in mixed-oak forests of southern Ohio
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
Author(s): Joanne X. Rebbeck; Robert P. Long; Daniel A. Yaussy
Editor(s): Martin A. Spetich
Publication Year: 2004

Cataloging Information

  • FFS - Fire and Fire Surrogate Study
  • fuel reduction
  • Ohio
  • thinning
  • vegetation
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: December 18, 2015
FRAMES Record Number: 2899


Prescribed fires in combination with thinning are being investigated as silvicultural tools in the regeneration of mixed-oak forests in central Appalachia. Burns were conducted in spring 2001 within three forests in southern Ohio. Each site was divided into four treatments of roughly 20 ha each: control (C), burn only (B), thin only (T), or thin plus burn (TB). The basal area of T and TB stands was thinned 4 months prior to the burns. Ten seedlings (<140 cm tall) and 10 saplings [stems >140 cm tall and <10 cm in diameter at breast height (d.b.h.)] within each of nine plots in a treatment area at each site were evaluated before (2000) and after (2001) treatment. Oak and hickory species were targeted for seedling evaluations. Dominant sapling species evaluated were red and sugar maple, blackgum, hickory, and beech (oak was sparse or absence). At 4 months postburn, 0, 13, 62, and 80 percent of the pretreatment seedlings were dead with living sprouts on the C, T, TB, and B plots, respectively. Nearly half of the 10 original saplings per plot were dead with sprouts in the TB and B plots (4.9 and 4.2). Sapling mortality (dead with no live sprouts) was highest in TB plots (1.6 of original 10 per plot) compared with T (0.6), B (0.2), and C (0.07) plots. Seedling mortality was highest in TB plots (3.4 seedlings of original 10 per plot), followed by T (2.2), B (1.6), and C (0.7) plots. We anticipate that resprouting seedlings in the TB plots will respond vigorously to increased light conditions if maintained by subsequent fires.

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Link to this document (2.9 MB; full text; pdf)
Rebbeck, Joanne; Long, Robert; Yaussy, Daniel. 2004. Survival of hardwood seedlings and saplings following overstory thinning and prescribed fires in mixed oak forests of southern Ohio. Pages 275-284 in: Spetich, Martin A. (ed.). Upland oak ecology symposium: history, current conditions, and sustainability. General Technical Report SRS-GTR-73. Asheville, NC: USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station.