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Project ID: 13-4-01-2

Year: 2013

Date Started: 07/01/2013

Date Completed: 05/14/2015

Title: Fuels, Weather, Fire Behavior & Vegetation Data Pertaining to RX Fire in a Young Loblolly Plantation

Project Proposal Abstract: This project will create an electronic dataset of unpublished fuel, weather, fire & plant response information. The 15-ac study (FS-SE-2111-18 (2)) was established in response to requests from industry and small land owners to develop prescriptions to safely introduce Rx fire into young sapling stands of loblolly pine rather than the traditional wait until the pine exceeded 15 ft in height and 2+ inches dbh. The sooner the problematic competition from low-value hardwoods is attacked, the easier the task of controlling them. Many foresters were also wondering why hardwoods that re-established after agricultural abandonment of worn-out severely eroded Lower Piedmont sites were mainly low-value species; oak seedlings are common but few make it into the canopy. Oak-hickory is the climatic climax across much of the Lower Piedmont from the Ozarks to Virginia, and high quality oak timber which sells at a premium was becoming scarce. One hypothesis is that, contrary to common sense, a fire that top-kills regenerating hardwoods at an early age would, in fact, favor oak resprouts over other less desirable hardwoods. These foresters are thus also interested in the results of this study. The study consisted of two treatments (very low fireline intensity fire and low fireline intensity fire) plus a no-burn control, each replicated four times in a completely randomized design. The site was roller-chopped and root-raked, but not burned prior to planting 1-0 loblolly nursery stock on a 6 x10 ft. spacing in January 1978. Baseline vegetation measurements were collected October 1982 prior to applying burn treatments in early March 1983 (after the 1st pine flush, but before hardwood bud break). Study objectives were to quantify survival and growth of planted loblolly pine after subjecting them to fire at age 7, to determine the efficacy of low intensity fire to control young hardwoods & to examine treatment effects on oak compared to other hardwoods. Vegetation was inventoried prior to treatment application to provide a baseline upon which the efficacy of these fires could be quantitatively determined. These annual surveys consisted of 4,800 ft of line transect permanently established 4.5 feet above the forest floor to record woody stems less than 4.5 ft high, and 4,800 ft of belt transect 4 ft wide to record woody stems at least 4.5 ft high. Pine height, dbh, presence of fusiform rust stem cankers & tip moth damage were recorded for 725 planted loblolly pine. Prior to each treatment application, live & dead surface fuels were sampled & separated into several categories. Post-burn samples were also collected & consumption calculated. Live and dead fuel moisture samples were collected on the 8 burn plots immediately prior to ignition. Weather observations were taken throughout the burns. Fire behavior measurements were taken at 5-minute intervals on each burn & fireline intensity calculated. Crown scorch & foliage consumption were documented on the measurement pines. Vegetation transect data & pine growth measurements were recorded annually 1982 through 1984. The study was terminated in 1985 as a consequence of the USFS national fire research reorganization. This dataset will augment existing Coastal Plain information on the resilience of young loblolly pine to crown damage & provide information to help managers determine at what age/size fire can safely be introduced into loblolly pine plantations on Lower Piedmont sites. Fire behavior results can be used to fine-tune burn prescriptions. Hardwood data will give managers an idea of the efficacy of Rx fire as a low-cost energy efficient method to temporarily control competition and release young loblolly pine. Ecological indices such as relative frequency, relative density, percent cover, dominance, importance values & species richness will be calculated to facilitate examination of successional patterns, especially of oak.

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.")

  ID Type Title
view or print   7451 Dataset (including spatial) GA Kraft fuel weight & moisture data
view or print   7452 Dataset (including spatial) Fire Weather data
view or print   7453 Dataset (including spatial) Fire Behavior & Stand Damage Excel workbook
view or print   7454 Final Report Summary Georgia Kraft study information overview
view or print   7449 Dataset (including spatial) GA Kraft Veg Transects
view or print   7450 Dataset (including spatial) GA Kraft Pine transects

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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