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  • Ohio Division of Forestry, Mead Paper Company
  • Oak-Hickory forest: oak, maple, tulip, black gum
  • Fire return interval: 3-15 years
  • Represents several million hectares of forest in the Ohio River Valley

The Central Appalachian Plateau site of the FFS project is located on the Raccoon Ecological Management Area (REMA), and the Tar Hollow (TAR) and Zaleski (ZAL) State Forests in southeastern Ohio. The study consists of four treatments on the three study areas (REMA, TAR, and ZAL), resulting in 12 experimental units.

The four treatments implemented at each study area are: (1) untreated control (2) prescribed fire only (3) thinning from below (4) thinning from below followed by prescribed fire

Treatment units (about 20 ha (50 acres)) are forest stands or portions of larger stands all having irregular boundaries. Ten 20x 50 m plots were located within each treatment area to measure the effects on different portions of the ecosystem. A 50x50 m grid of points was established on the ground with a Global Positioning System (GPS) to study landscape changes.

Measuring both the effects of fire and/or thinning on oak regeneration and on components of biodiversity may help to identify thresholds that would be useful for fine-tuning management to achieve more holistic objectives. Measuring the economics and effects of fire and/or thinning on soils, forest plants, trees, forest pathogens, and wildlife should help identify ecological tradeoffs inherent in the application of management activities.  Since the Ohio Hills project will collect both ecological and economic data on common sites under similar conditions, managers will be able to assess tradeoffs between these two classes of information.



People Year Title Sort descending
Iverson, Yaussy, Rebbeck, Hutchinson, Long, Prasad 2004 A comparison of thermocouples and temperature paints to monitor spatial and temporal characteristics of landscape-scale prescribed fires
Weatherspoon 2000 A proposed long-term national study of the consequences of fire and fire surrogate treatments
Boerner, Coates, Yaussy, Waldrop 2008 Assessing ecosystem restoration alternatives in eastern deciduous forests: the view from belowground
Yaussy, Rebbeck, Iverson, Hutchinson, Long 2003 Comparison of a low-tech vs. a high-tech method to evaluate surface fire temperatures
Huang 2007 Ecological responses of two forest understory herbs to changes in resources caused by prescribed fire alone on in combination with restoration thinning
Huang, Boerner, Rebbeck 2007 Ecophysiological responses of two herbaceous species to prescribed burning, alone or in combination with overstory thinning
Boerner, Waldrop, Skinner, Callaham, Brinkman, Smith 2004 Ecosystem restoration and wildfire management treatments affect soil organic matter and microbial activity in four contrasting forests
Boerner, Brinkman, Yaussy 2007 Ecosystem restoration treatments affect soil physical and chemical properties in Appalachian mixed oak forests
Giai, Boerner 2007 Effects of ecological restoration on microbial activity, microbial functional diversity, and soil organic matter in mixed-oak forests of southern Ohio, USA
Huang, Boerner 2007 Effects of fire alone or combined with thinning on tissue nutrient concentrations and nutrient resorption in Desmodium nudiflorum
McQuattie, Rebbeck, Yaussy 2004 Effects of fire and thinning on growth, mycorrhizal colonization, and leaf anatomy of black oak and red maple seedlings
Albrecht, McCarthy 2006 Effects of prescribed fire and thinning on tree recruitment patterns in central hardwood forests
Yaussy, Waldrop 2009 Fire and Fire Surrogate study: annotated highlights from oak-dominated sites
Phillips, Hutchinson, Brudnak, Waldrop 2007 Fire and fire surrogate treatments in mixed-oak forests: effects on herbaceous layer vegetation
Iverson, Prasad, Hutchinson, Rebbeck, Yaussy 2004 Fire and thinning in an Ohio oak forest: grid-based analyses of fire behavior, environmental conditions, and tree regeneration across a topographic moisture gradient
Hutchinson, Long, Ford, Sutherland 2008 Fire history and the establishment of oaks and maples in second-growth forests
Graham, McCarthy 2006 Forest floor fuel dynamics in mixed-oak forests of south-eastern Ohio
Lombardo, McCarthy 2008 Forest management and curculionid weevil diversity in mixed oak forests of southeastern Ohio
Waldrop, Yaussy, Phillips, Hutchinson, Brudnak, Boerner 2008 Fuel reduction treatments affect stand structure of hardwood forests in western North Carolina and southern Ohio, USA
Boerner, Huang, Hart 2008 Impacts of fire and fire surrogate treatments on ecosystem nitrogen storage patterns: similarities and differences between forests of eastern and western North America
Boerner, Huang, Hart 2009 Impacts of Fire and Fire Surrogate treatments on forest soil properties: a meta-analytical approach
Youngblood, Metlen, Knapp, Outcalt, Stephens, Waldrop, Yaussy 2005 Implementation of the fire and fire surrogate study: a national research effort to evaluate the consequences of fuel reduction treatments
Chiang, Brown 2007 Improving the budburst phenology subroutine in the forest carbon model PnET
Boerner, Giai, Huang, Miesel 2008 Initial effects of fire and mechanical thinning on soil enzyme activity and nitrogen transformations in eight North American forest ecosystems
Youngblood, Bigler-Cole, Fettig, Fiedler, Knapp, Lehmkuhl, Outcalt, Skinner, Stephens, Waldrop 2007 Making fire and fire surrogate science available: a summary of regional workshops with clients
Riccardi, McCarthy, Long 2004 Oak seed production, weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) populations, and predation rates in mixed-oak forests of southeast Ohio
McIver, Weatherspoon 2010 On conducting a multisite, multidisciplinary forestry research project: lessons from the national fire and fire surrogate study
Yaussy, Dickinson, Bova 2004 Prescribed surface-fire tree mortality in southern Ohio: equations based on thermocouple probe temperatures
McIver, Erickson, Youngblood 2012 Principal short-term findings of the National Fire and Fire Surrogate study
Boerner, Brinkman, Smith 2005 Seasonal variations in enzyme activity and organic carbon in soil of a burned and unburned hardwood forest
Huang, Boerner 2008 Shifts in morphological traits, seed production, and early establishment of Desmodium nudiflorum following prescribed fire, alone or in combination with forest canopy thinning
Converse, White, Farris, Zack 2006 Small mammals and forest fuel reduction: national-scale responses to fire and fire surrogates
Coates, Boerner, Waldrop, Yaussy 2008 Soil nitrogen transformations under alternative management strategies in Appalachian forests
Boerner 2006 Soil, fire, water, and wind: how the elements conspire in the forest context
Iverson, Yaussy, Rebbeck, Hutchinson, Long, McCarthy, Riccardi, Prasad 2003 Spatial and temporal distribution of fire temperatures from prescribed fires in the mixed oak forests of southern Ohio
Boerner, Brinkman 2004 Spatial, temporal, and restoration treatment effects on soil resources in mixed-oak forests of southeastern Ohio
Rebbeck, Long, Yaussy 2004 Survival of hardwood seedlings and saplings following overstory thinning and prescribed fires in mixed-oak forests of southern Ohio
Kennedy, Fontaine 2009 Synthesis of knowledge on the effects of fire and fire surrogates on wildlife in U.S. dry forests
Bartuszevige, Kennedy 2009 Synthesis of knowledge on the effects of fire and thinning treatments on understory vegetation in U.S. dry forests
Chiang, McEwan, Yaussy, Brown 2008 The effects of prescribed fire and silvicultural thinning on the aboveground carbon stocks and net primary production of overstory trees in an oak-hickory ecosystem in southern Ohio
Edminster, Weatherspoon, Neary 2000 The Fire and Fire Surrogates Study: providing guidelines for fire in future forest watershed management decisions
McIver, Boerner, Hart 2008 The national fire and fire surrogate study: ecological consequences of alternative fuel reduction methods in seasonally dry forests
Schwilk, Keeley, Knapp, McIver, Bailey, Fettig, Fiedler, Harrod, Moghaddas, Outcalt, Skinner, Stephens, Waldrop, Yaussy, Youngblood 2009 The national Fire and Fire Surrogate study: effects of fuel reduction methods on forest vegetation structure and fuels
Joesting, McCarthy, Brown 2007 The photosynthetic response of American chestnut seedlings to differing light conditions
Chalmers, Hartsough 2001 Thinning and prescribed fire as methods to reduce fuel loading - a cost analysis
Iverson, Hutchinson, Prasad, Peters 2008 Thinning, fire, and oak regeneration across a heterogeneous landscape in the eastern U.S.: 7-year results
Giuliani, Brown 2008 Within-canopy sampling of global irradiance to describe downwelling light distribution and infer canopy stratification in a broadleaf forest
Fire and Fire Surrogates Study Central Appalachian Plateau (Ohio Hills) Site Map thumbnail

Site Manager

Dan Yaussy
USFS, Northern Research Station

Site Data Manager

Dan Yaussy
USFS, Northern Research Station

Site Discipline Leaders


Roger Williams
The Ohio State University


Brian McCarthy
Ohio University


Bob Long
USFS, Northern Research Station


Ralph Boerner
The Ohio State University


Todd Hutchinson
USFS, Northern Research Station


Don Miles
Ohio University


Additional Information



Download a poster about the Central Appalachian Plateau study site.


Download an animation of a prescribed fire at Zaleski State Forest, Ohio.


Download a video of a prescribed fire in a burn only plot within the Raccoon Ecological Management Area of the Ohio Hills FFS site, spring 2005. The tree in the center of the image was instrumented with temperature sensors as part of a study on heat transfer through bark by Matt Dickinson and Tony Bova. Notice the examples of leeward vortices and flames "sticking" to the bole.