Impacts of wildfire recency and frequency on an Appalachian oak forest
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Journal of Forestry. 113(4): 393-403.
Cabwaylingo State Forest in southern West Virginia has experienced numerous anthropogenic wildfires over the past 36 years. In this case study, we assessed the relationship between fire frequency and recency and stand composition and structure, with emphasis on oak and its competitors. Frequent and recent fire was significantly correlated with reduced red maple overstory stem density and basal area. Overstory oak density did not significantly vary with either fire frequency or recency. Total overstory basal area was greatest in areas of either no fire or nonrecent fire. Oak sapling density was significantly greater with high frequency and recent fire. Red maple sapling densities were greatest when fires were infrequent and recent, and red maple seedlings were greatest in no fire and low-frequency nonrecent fire areas. Our results suggest that recurring fire can enhance the development of large oak advanced reproduction. However, frequent fires without a sufficient fire-free interval could prevent the recruitment of oaks into the overstory.
Keywordsoak advanced reproduction; oak silviculture
Thomas-Van Gundy, Melissa A.; Wood, Katharina U.; Rentch, James S. 2015. Impacts of wildfire recency and frequency on an Appalachian oak forest. Journal of Forestry. 113(4): 393-403. https://doi.org/10.5849/jof.14-066.