Without continual burning, midstory and understory woody vegetation evolves beneath pine overstories, and the accumulating litter and midstory of laddered fuels create a high fire hazard. In this Joint Fire Science Program demonstration project, we evaluated how several management schemes change fuel conditions and vegetative composition in three upland forest types (loblolly pine, mixed pine, and young longleaf pine plantation) that were at different stages of estoration to longleaf pine. We established six 24-acre Demonstration Areas. As originally proposed, we initiated three randomly assigned treatments to about a third of each area: (a) no treatment, (b) prescribed burning, and (c) prescribed burning plus supplemental woody plant control by mechanical means. We collected pre-burn fuel samples, prescribed burned the plots during spring 2001 and 2003, and collected post-burn samples 6 weeks after each burn. We completed the understory and midstory vegetation surveys in 2001, 2003, and 2004 (14 months after the last burn). We mechanically treated brush in summer 2002. We measured the overstory trees at the beginning and end of the project period. In addition to the original project, we evaluated the effects of the fires on bark beetle populations.
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Haywood, James D.; Bauman, Tessa A.; Goyer, Richard A.; Harris, Finis L. 2005. Conversion of upland loblolly pine-hardwood stands to longleaf pine: does it influence fuel load, restore native forest cover, and reduce fire danger. Joint Fire Science Project 00-2-06. Pineville, LA: USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station.