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Project ID: 12-1-01-18

Year: 2012

Date Started: 05/15/2012

Ending Date:  05/15/2015

Title: Repeated Prescribed Fires and Mechanical Fuel Treatments May Promote Multiple Management Objectives in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

Project Proposal Abstract: Hardwood ecosystems of the southern Appalachian Mountains were described historically as having open canopies, few shrubs, and rich forest floor vegetation; oak regeneration was more common than other species because of frequent fire. Restoration is a common goal which usually involves re-introduction of fire or mechanical means of altering stand structure. In 2000, a team of federal, state, university, and private scientists and land managers designed the Fire and Fire Surrogate (FFS) study, an integrated national network including 12 study sites to measure impacts of fuel reduction treatments on a broad array of variables including flora, fauna, fuels, soils, forest health, and economics. Treatments were designed to restore ecosystems by re-establishing an ecosystem process (fire), stand structure (mechanical fuel reduction), or both. Most FFS sites were abandoned after reporting impacts that occurred within 1 year after treatment. However, managers at the FFS site in the southern Appalachian Mountains of western NC have been able to continue the prescribed burning treatment on a 3- to 5-year rotation. Management objectives included fuel reduction, game habitat, and restoration of open woodland habitat. The numerous variables measured in the first 5 years of the study strongly indicated that repeated entries of fire and/or mechanical treatments were necessary to reach management objectives. The southern Appalachian site of the FFS Study is the first and only study in the region where vegetation, fuels, and soils have been measured after repeated prescribed burning, so the study has the potential to provide much basic information. A better understanding of this information will allow a better job of establishing objectives and planning management activities to reach those objectives.

Principal Investigator: Thomas A. Waldrop

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: SRS-Department of Forest Resources

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Joyce M. Gorgas

Forest Service

SRS-Southern Research Station

Budget Contact

Shelly M. Gates

Forest Service

SRS-Southern Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

Mac A. Callaham

Forest Service

SRS-Forestry Sciences Lab-Athens GA

Funding Cooperator

Thomas A. Waldrop

Forest Service

SRS-Department of Forest Resources

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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.")

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