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Project ID: 00-2-13

Year: 2001

Date Started: 01/18/2001

Date Completed: 06/01/2005

Title: A Comparison of Silvicultural Practices for Controlling Mountain Laurel in the Mixed-Oak Forests of Pennsylvania

Project Proposal Abstract: The near elimination of the historic fire regime (occasional to frequent, lowintensity surface fires) from the mixed-oak forests of the Appalachian Mountains has allowed mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) to expand to the point that it is creating hazardous fuel and forest management problems. Mountain laurel is a long-lived, ericaceous, evergreen, shade-tolerant, clonal shrub capable of creating vast dense thickets in oak-dominated forests. These thickets are fire hazards because they burn with extreme intensity, turning simple surface fires into stand-replacing events, and forest diversity and regeneration obstacles because they replace the herbaceous flora and exclude the establishment and development of oak reproduction. Foresters sometimes avoid managing or mismanage such thickets because of uncertainty over which silvicultural practice (timber harvesting, timber stand improvement, herbicide application, or prescribed fire) will be most effective and economic at controlling the shrub while establishing and/or promoting oak regeneration and herbaceous flora diversity. To help alleviate this problem, a pair of demonstration sites is proposed to the Joint Fire Science Program for funding consideration. These sites would showcase seven singular or combination treatments for addressing the mountain laurel problem and their subsequent ecological effects. The sites would be located in two different parts of the state so as to be easily accessible to practicing foresters, other natural resource professionals, elected officials, research scientists, students, members of the environmental community, and the general public and will be maintained for at least seven years. The demonstration sites will also be combined with a replicate of a similar study so treatment effects data can be collected and analyzed, yielding defensible conclusions about the impacts of the practices on mountain laurel, oak and other hardwood regeneration, herbaceous plants, and the relative costs of the techniques. These demonstration sites will help fire and forest managers understand the strengths and weaknesses of each silvicultural practice in regards to controlling mountain laurel for fire safety or forest management reasons as well as associated effects on the forest community.

Principal Investigator: Patrick H. Brose

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: NRS-Forestry Sciences Lab-Irvine PA


Other Project Collaborators

Type

Name

Agency/Organization

Branch or Dept

Collaborator/Contributor

Timothy Ladner

Pennsylvania

Bureau of Forestry- #19 Delaware Field Office

Collaborator/Contributor

Gary Landes

Pennsylvania

Bureau of Forestry- #8 Clear Creek Field Office

Collaborator/Contributor

Todd Ristau

Forest Service

NRS-Forestry Sciences Lab-Irvine PA

Collaborator/Contributor

Robert Torsell

Pennsylvania

Bureau of Forestry- #5 Rothrock Field Office

Federal Cooperator

Patrick H. Brose

Forest Service

NRS-Forestry Sciences Lab-Irvine PA


Project Locations

Consortium

Appalachian


There are no project locations identified for this project.

Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
    503 Field Demonstration/Tour Two demonstration sites

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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