Presenter: Dr. Hong He, Professor at the University of Missouri
Sponsor: Oak Woodlands and Forests Fire Consortium
Prior stand-scale studies suggest that prescribed burning and harvesting could be effective for restoring pine-oak woodlands. However, previous short-term, stand-scale studies provided little insight into long-term, landscape-scale outcomes. To estimate outcomes of alternative restoration treatments on future species composition and forest structure, we employed an integrated field and modeling approach to simulate effects of prescribed burning and harvesting on the restoration of shortleaf pine-oak woodland composition and structure in the Mark Twain National Forest for a 100-year period. Six scenarios were modeled: no management, burn only, harvest only, and a combination of harvest with burns treatments followed by fire-free intervals of differing starting times or durations to facilitate regeneration recruitment. Both no management and prescribed burn only scenarios cannot restore current forest to historical woodland condition (i.e., 40–80% percent canopy cover or less than 55% stocking); however, scenarios including harvest can restore current forest to woodland condition in late 2020s. All of the treatments that included a combination of burning and harvesting reduced total basal area, which fluctuated around 13 m2 ha−1 throughout the simulation than those under no management and prescribed only scenarios. The simulations suggested that shortleaf pine would become the most dominant group, followed by white, red oak groups, and other species with combined prescribed burning and harvesting. When coupled with harvest, the prescribed burning regime affected species composition: increasing the number of burns increased the basal area and density of shortleaf pine and decreased the basal area and density of white oak group species.
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