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Project ID: 01B-3-1-03

Year: 2002

Date Started: 05/30/2002

Date Completed: 05/31/2006

Title: Dormant-Season Prescription Fires to Reduce Hazardous Fuel Loads on the South Carolina Coastal Plain: Establishing a Demonstration Area on a 40+ Year Study

Project Proposal Abstract: In 1958 The Southeastern Forest and Range Experiment Station established a 40acre study on the Francis Marion National Forest (FMNF) to compare the efficacy or 4 fire return intervals, namely every 1-, 2-, 3-, or 4-years (along with an unburned check treatment), to reduce the hazardous buildup of fuels on Lower Coastal Plain sites. The 5 treatments were replicated 4 times, each 2-acre replicate separated by either a plowed firebreak or a FS road. Scheduled treatments have been applied every year since, and the plan is to continue to maintain this schedule into the foreseeable future but definitely for the next 7 years. This study site would make an ideal demonstration area for several reasons: 1) From a hazard reduction standpoint, the results ofthe various treatments have reached equilibrium, so visitors can assess the actual long term differences due to different dormant-season fire return intervals; 2) Differences in vegetative composition and stature between treatments are visually dramatic; 3) These are the only longterm plots that exist in the southern pine/mixed brush fuel type typical ofthe outer Coastal Plain from Georgia to Virginia; 4) The annually burned plots are a must see stop for anyone interested in historical pyrodiversity and are often described by visiting ecologists as one ofthe best remaining examples ofthe herbaceous groundcover that historically dominated the Atlantic Coastal Plain and; 5) The FMNF is essentially an urban national forest that caters to the recreational needs ofa large metropolitan area, our study site being less than an hour from Charleston (the largest city in SC) and with two hours of Savannah, GA and Columbia, the capital of SC. I propose to contract with a company that specializes in environmental education and training to sign all plots and design and construct a permanent display board that contains a map ofthe study site, photographs, study results, and a brief description ofthe role offire in this ecosystem. A full-color "takehome" fact sheet will also be provided. All study plots border an all-weather FS road making them accessible to the handicapped and infirm. A web page describing research results ofthis long-term study site, current fire management issues, and the role of fire in this landscape will also be developed and maintained. A field day will also be held to acquaint people with the demonstration area. A portion of the proposed funding will be used to speed up summarization and publication ofthe 40-year database to document the changes in vegetative structure and composition, and to provide better "hard" fire behavior and fuel consumption numbers urgently needed in fire management planning as inputs into various models. This proposal directly addresses JFSP Issue 3, Task 1: Develop demonstration sites in various ecosystems ... that can serve to illustrate various fuels treatment practices or techniques.... There is also a link to Task 3: Address local knowledge gaps that are Significant to fire managementplan development and implementation which has added significance because this study site contains both federally and state listed species, as well as species of special concern.

Principal Investigator: Kenneth W. Outcalt

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: SRS-Ctr for Forest Disturbance Science

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Dale D. Wade

Forest Service

SRS-Southern Forest Experimental Station

Federal Cooperator

Kenneth W. Outcalt

Forest Service

SRS-Ctr for Forest Disturbance Science

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network


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
    989 Government Publication Full Color Fact Sheet
    1288 Government Publication Dormant Season Prescription Fires Reduce Hazardous Fuel Loads on the South Carolina Coastal Plain
    2443 Journal Article Fire Frequency Effects on Longleaf Pine Vegetation in South Carolina and Northeast Florida USA
    645 Field Demonstration/Tour  
  go to website 646 Website  
    2332 Field Demonstration/Tour  
    2333 Field Demonstration/Tour  
    2337 Invited Paper/Presentation Long-Term Prescribed Burning in the Southern US
    2365 Poster Prescribed Burning on Francis Marion National Forest
    2419 Poster Response of a Mixed Longleaf and Loblolly Pine Community to Long-Term Dormant Season Prescribed Burning

Supporting Documents

The following supporting documents are available for this project.

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