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Project ID: 14-3-01-43

Year: 2014

Date Started: 06/01/2014

Date Completed: 03/05/2017

Title: Food, Fuel, and Fire: Assessing the effects of fuel treatments on wildlife habitat quality in longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystems

Project Proposal Abstract: More than any other region of the United States, the Southeast exhibits an overlap between fire management and biodiversity conservation priorities. On the order of 6,000 vascular plant taxa occur in the Southeastern Coastal Plain ecoregion, and of these, 1,306 species are endemic, falling just short of the criterion that would qualify the region as one of the Earths biodiversity hotspots (e.g. 1,500 endemic species). The majority of these endemics occur in fire-dependent longleaf pine understories, which in turn support one of the largest vertebrate faunas in temperate North America. Restoring the historical fire regime to longleaf pine-wiregrass systems is therefore not only a matter of great national interest, but one of importance in the global biodiversity crisis. Recognizing the intersection between fire management and wildlife management in the Southeast, the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy/Southeast Regional Action Plan calls for overlap with the State Wildlife Action Plans wherever possible in order to maximize return on investment for public and private landowners alike. Florida's State Wildlife Action Plan identifies one hundred and forty-two Species of Greatest Conservation Need (including several Threatened and Endangered species) associated with frequently-burned longleaf pine understories, and lists fire suppression as one of the top four statewide threats to biodiversity. The purpose of the proposed project is to assess the degree to which fuel treatment methods in Florida are successful not only in reducing hazardous fuel buildup, but in fostering vegetative communities that have the elements characteristic of high-quality wildlife habitat. Although beneficial effects of fuel treatments on understory structural parameters (i.e. decreased woody cover and increased herbaceous cover/diversity) have been documented by several researchers in longleaf pine systems, it appears that certain plant functional groups important to wildlife may be chronically underrepresented on restored sites. Few studies have isolated and examined the functional group composition of restored longleaf pine understories, and those that have addressed these parameters have been experimental studies at a single location. The proposed project will offer a new perspective by surveying plant communities on a large number of restored sites across a wide geographic area.

Principal Investigator: Stephanie Bohlman

Agency/Organization: University of Florida

Branch or Dept: School of Forest Resources & Conservation

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Brian G. Prindle

University of Florida

Office of Research

Budget Contact

Brian G. Prindle

University of Florida

Office of Research

Student Investigator

Johanna E. Freeman

University of Florida

IFAS-Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences

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

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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