The role of fire-return interval and season of burn in snag dynamics in a south Florida slash pine forest
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): J. D. Lloyd; G. L. Slater; J. R. Snyder
Publication Year: 2012

Cataloging Information

  • cavity nesting birds
  • fire frequency
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • Florida
  • Florida slash pine
  • forest management
  • pine forests
  • Pinus elliottii densa
  • Pinus elliottii var densa
  • population density
  • season of fire
  • snags
  • south Florida slash pine
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: October 18, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 51832
Tall Timbers Record Number: 28813
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Available
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, 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.


Standing dead trees, or snags, are an important habitat element for many animal species. In many ecosystems, fire is a primary driver of snag population dynamics because it can both create and consume snags. The objective of this study was to examine how variation in two key components of the fire regime-fire-return interval and season of burn-affected population dynamics of snags. Using a factorial design, we exposed 1 ha plots, located within larger burn units in a south Florida slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. densa Little and Dorman) forest, to prescribed fire applied at two intervals (approximately 3-year intervals vs. approximately 6-year intervals) and during two seasons (wet season vs. dry season) over a 12- to 13-year period. We found no consistent effect of fire season or frequency on the density of lightly to moderately decayed or heavily decayed snags, suggesting that variation in these elements of the fire regime at the scale we considered is relatively unimportant in the dynamics of snag populations. However, our confidence in these findings is limited by small sample sizes, potentially confounding effects of unmeasured variation in fire behavior and effects (e. g., intensity, severity, synergy with drought cycles) and wide variation in responses within a treatment level. The generalizing of our findings is also limited by the narrow range of treatment levels considered. Future experiments incorporating a wider range of fire regimes and directly quantifying fire intensity would prove useful in identifying more clearly the role of fire in shaping the dynamics of snag populations.

Lloyd, J. D., G. L. Slater, and J. R. Snyder. 2012. The role of fire-return interval and season of burn in snag dynamics in a south Florida slash pine forest. Fire Ecology, v. 8, no. 3, p. 18-31. 10.4996/fireecoloby.0803018.