Should mechanical treatments and herbicides be used as fire surrogates to manage Florida's uplands? A review
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): E. S. Menges; D. R. Gordon
Publication Year: 2010

Cataloging Information

  • Aphelocoma coerulescens
  • cavity nesting birds
  • cutting
  • disturbance
  • dry prairie
  • ecological restoration
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • FFS - Fire and Fire Surrogate Study
  • fire dependent species
  • fire frequency
  • fire hazard reduction
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fire size
  • flatwoods
  • flatwoods
  • Florida
  • Florida scrub
  • Florida Scrub-Jay
  • forest management
  • fuel loading
  • hardwoods
  • herbicides
  • logging
  • logging
  • mosaic
  • mowing
  • mowing
  • national forests
  • nongame birds
  • Ocala National Forest
  • Picoides borealis
  • pine
  • pine forests
  • pine rockland
  • Pinus elliottii
  • prairies
  • prescribed fires (escaped)
  • range management
  • red-cockaded woodpecker
  • reptiles
  • resprouting
  • roller-chopping
  • Sandhill
  • sandhills
  • scrub
  • season of fire
  • site treatments
  • slash pine
  • species diversity
  • state parks
  • threatened and endangered species (animals)
  • vegetation surveys
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 49061
Tall Timbers Record Number: 25348
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals - F
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Mechankcal treatments such as roller-chopping, mowing, chain-sawing, and logging, and herbicide application, are increasingly used to manage fire-maintained Florida ecosystems. Goals include achieving or restoring desired vegetation structure and composition, providing habitat for listed species, and allowing the reintroduction of fire. We review studies evaluating mechanical treatments and herbicide effects on Florida's plant and animal communities. Mechanical treatments and herbicide often accelerated vegetation structure changes, but ecological benefits were generally greatest when they were combined with fire. Soil disturbances, weedy species increases, and rapid hardwood resprouting were sometimes problems with mechanical treatments. Fire itself was crucial for maintenance of individual species and species diversity. When feasible, mechanical and herbicide treatments sould be used as pretreatments for fire rather than as fire surrogates. Managers should segue to fire-only approaches as soon as possible. The effects of removing fire, the most evolutionarily significant disturbance in Florida, on fire-adapted plants and animals requires more study. If we increase the use of mechanical agents, how will this affect ecosystem resilience? We suggest caution in using these evolutionarily novel treatments, with close monitoring of their effects. More information on the long-term effects of repeated non-fire treatments is needed before such approaches are adopted uncritically. © Florida Academy of Sciences, 2010. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Online Link(s):
Menges, E. S., and D. R. Gordon. 2010. Should mechanical treatments and herbicides be used as fire surrogates to manage Florida's uplands? A review. Florida Scientist, v. 73, no. 2, p. 147-174.