Central Appalachian Plateau (Ohio Hills, OH)

  • 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 20x50 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.