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Type: Report
Author(s): J. Kevin Hiers; Doria R. Gordon; Robert J. Mitchell; Joseph J. O'Brien
Publication Date: 2005

Smoldering duff, accumulated organic matter, following burning in fire-excluded systems in the SE United States, is increasing problematic for restoration, conservation, and reduced wildfire risk reasons. Prolonged smoke generation and wildfire risk accompany this smoldering, which can support new surface fire ignition long after the fire is assumed extinguished. In addition, mature trees often now die after fire. This mortality may be delayed for two or more years post-fire. Because mature longleaf pine trees are now rare across the southeastern coastal plain, mortality of even a small percentage of the few large pines remaining is counter to management goals. This study was comprised of 6 major tasks: (1) determine threshold moisture conditions for duff smoldering; (2) develop prescription guidelines to safely burn when duff is present while avoiding consumption thresholds; (3) describe stand structure and forest floor characteristics associated with consumption, (4) track foliar and root dynamics following consumption of duff, (5) survey mortality associated with levels of consumption, and (6) explore mechanistic relationships between consumption and individual tree mortality. The research addressed Issue 3 (evaluate and compare fuels treatment practices and techniques) and Tasks 1 and 3 of the spring 2001 Joint Fire Science Program request for proposals.

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Link to this document (2.8 MB; pdf)
Citation: Hiers, Kevin J.; Gordon, Doria R.; Mitchell, Robert J.; O'Brien, Joseph J. 2005. Duff consumption and southern pine mortality - Final Report to the Joint Fire Science Program. JFSP Project No. 01-1-3-11. Asheville, NC: Southern Research Station, Center for Forest Disturbance Science. 111 p.

Cataloging Information

  • duff consumption
  • Eglin Air Force Base
  • Florida
  • smoldering
  • tree mortality
JFSP Project Number(s):
  • 01-1-3-11
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 370