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Project ID: 00-2-27

Year: 2001

Date Started: 02/06/2001

Date Completed: 09/09/2006

Title: Maintaining Longleaf Pine Woodlands: Is Mechanical Shearing a Surrogate for Prescribed Burning

Project Proposal Abstract: Prescribed fire is the treatment of choice for maintaining groundcover vegetation in southeastern pine savannas and woodlands. However use of prescribed fire in National Forests and other wildlands is becoming increasingly problematic due to smoke management concerns and encroaching urban/suburban development. Other techniques that may be considered As surrogates for prescribed burning include various types of chemical and mechanical treatments. One mechanical treatment that is now being considered for large- scale use involves clipping or shearing of existing vegetation at ground level. In addition to "controlling" woody vegetation, this method also pulverizes larger down fuels (e.g., logs), thereby facilitating more complete combustion in subsequent prescribed burns and presumably limiting long-term smoke problems. Whether this method is an adequate surrogate for prescribed fire remains to be demonstrated. Field inspections post-treatment suggest that soil disturbance is limited but detailed effects on plant community composition and population dynamics are unknown. Another important question pertains to the use of shearing in conjunction with subsequent burning. While the goal of the treatment is partly to reduce high fuel loads and produce more manageable fires (including less residual smoke), it is possible that one effect is to redistribute heat transfer downwards into the soil profile increasing the probability of damage to plant roots. We propose herein an experiment to compare effects of shearing, burning, and shearing plus burning on vegetation and fire behavior in longleaf pine woodlands. The experiment will take advantage of pre-existing plots in the Francis Marion National Forest, SC, that differ in fire history and consequently current vegetation and fuel structure. The experimental design will be randomized blocks with each block representing one type of burn history. Blocks will consist of three plots and each plot will be randomly assigned one of the three new treatments (i.e., burn only, shear only, shear + burn). Vegetation changes will be monitored in existing permanent subplots as well as along line transects to be installed. Fire behavior parameters to be monitored will include rate of spread, fireline intensity, and maximum temperatures at varying depths in the soil profile. Smoke in the vicinity of each fire will be assessed visually each hour for one day after the fire using a reflector system. We suggest that the proposed research is relevant to the objectives specified in "Task 1" to "study the consequences of fire and fire surrogate treatments" and "locally specific management issues."

Principal Investigator: Jeff S. Glitzenstein

Agency/Organization: Tall Timbers Research Station

Branch or Dept:

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Gary L. Achtemeier

Forest Service

SRS-Forestry Sciences Lab-Athens GA

Co-Principal Investigator

Luke P. Naeher

University of Georgia

Department of Environmental Health Science

Co-Principal Investigator

Donna R. Streng

Tall Timbers Research Station


Daniel L. Carlson

Forest Service

Francis Marion & Sumter NFs-Wambaw Office


Dawn Carrie

Forest Service

Sam Houston National Forest


Donald Imm

Forest Service

SRS-Savanna River Site


Thomas H. Serviss


Blackwater Forestry Center Field Unit


William Twomey

Forest Service

Francis Marion & Sumter NFs-Witherbee Office

Federal Cooperator

Dale D. Wade

Forest Service

SRS-Southern Forest Experimental Station

Federal Fiscal Representative

Cara Castle

Forest Service

SRS-Southern Research Station

Federal Fiscal Representative

Vicki Sellars

Tall Timbers Research Station

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
view or print   2896 Journal Article Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
    468 Field Demonstration/Tour  
  go to website 4974 Website  
    4975 Field Demonstration/Tour  

Supporting Documents

The following supporting documents are available for this project.

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