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Project ID: 13-4-01-1

Year: 2013

Date Started: 10/01/2013

Ending Date:  09/30/2015

Title: 40-Years of Fuel, Fire & Plant Data from a Long-Term Rx Fire Study in Southern Pine Located FMNF, SC

Project Proposal Abstract: In 1958 the USFS Southeastern Station established a 40-ac study (FS-SE-2101 (1) 1) on the Francis Marion NF in South Carolina. The area is a wet savanna ecosystem that had been clearcut just prior to WW I and naturally regenerated to longleaf on the drier sites and loblolly pine on the wetter sites (less than 2-feet elevational difference). The stand had been burned every 4 to 5 years with backfires during the dormant season for hazard reduction at least since WW II, the last time in 1956. At the time of study establishment, overstory tress averaged 42 years old, 8.9 inches dbh, and 55 ft in height. The original objective was to quantify the efficacy of four dormant-season fire-return intervals (2, 3, 4, or 5 yrs.) plus a control, to reduce the hazardous buildup of fuels on Lower Coastal Plain sites. The five 2-ac treatments were replicated four times in a completely randomized block design. Treatment fires were initiated in 1958, with the original 5-year treatment converted to an annual treatment after the 1963 burns. Enough data had been collected within a dozen years to unequivocally prove increased fire decreased hazardous fuel accumulation, although by that time the visually obvious differences between frequent low-intensity fires and attempted fire exclusion had already convinced all with an open mind. The study plots were thus intensively sampled during the winter of 1970-71 and a final report written, but the results never published. At that time a decision was made to continue the study with a new objective, namely to evaluate the long-term site responses to these 5 treatments. Thus study plots were burned and sampled as scheduled through 2002 (except for 1990, the year after hurricane Hugo, when treatment application was postponed until late spring). No post-Hugo salvage logging took place on the study area, which provided the opportunity to document fuels and fire behavior in this new fuel type and allowed quantification of the massive blow-down over time. This study, along with its FL replicate which is proposal 5, resulted in the largest and most detailed dataset ever collected regarding fire use in southern forests. The annuals have been described as one of the best remaining examples of the herbaceous groundcover that once dominated the Atlantic Coastal Plain from Virginia to Florida. Sampling protocols and methodologies changed over the years so besides recording long term changes, the dataset allows comparison of various sampling schemes and methodologies (e.g.; fuel moisture) some of which were used concurrently. Fuel weight and consumption averages based on 40+ yrs of annul sampling allow checking validity of, and improving a host of currently used models to predict fire behavior, emissions and consumption. Information embedded in this data can shed light on a wide range of knowledge gaps from blow-down decay rates to carbon sequestration.

Principal Investigator: Dale D. Wade

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: SRS-Southern Forest Experimental Station

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

Funding Cooperator

Scott L. Goodrick

Forest Service

SRS-Ctr for Forest Disturbance Science

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network









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.")

There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

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