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Effects of Prescribed Fire on the Buried Seed Bank in Mixed-Hardwood Forests of the Southern Appalachian Mountains

Published on Dec 1, 2012in Southeastern Naturalist0.404
· DOI :10.1656/058.011.0407
Tara L. Keyser12
Estimated H-index: 12
(USFS: United States Forest Service),
Tracy L. Roof1
Estimated H-index: 1
(USFS: United States Forest Service)
+ 2 AuthorsGordon S. Warburton7
Estimated H-index: 7
(North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission)
Abstract
This study characterizes the seed bank prior to and immediately following dormant-season prescribed fire in mature, mixed-Quercus spp. (oak) forests in the south- ern Appalachian Mountains. Thirty samples from the litter/duff (LD) and the top 5 cm of the mineral soil (MS) were collected from five 5-ha burn units (6 plots per experimental unit) before and immediately after low-intensity prescribed fires, where maximum fire temperatures varied from <79 to 316 °C. A split-plot ANOVA and multi-response permu- tation procedures (MRBP) were utilized to assess the effects of burn treatment (pre- or post-fire) and seed bank layer (LD and MS) on the diversity and density of the buried seed bank. An average of 471 emergents/m 2 was observed in the buried seed bank compris- ing 133 identifiable taxa. No differences in total seed-bank density, Shannon-Weiner's diversity index (H'), or overall species composition between pre- and post-fire sampling or between the LD and MS layers were observed. Species richness (S) of the seed bank, however, was slightly greater pre-fire than post-fire, regardless of layer. Similarity, as defined by Sorenson's index, of species common to the seed bank and aboveground forest understory was low, with a slight increase in Sorenson's index observed during post-fire sampling of the seed bank and aboveground vegetation. Although we observed only neg- ligible effects of a once-applied, low-intensity prescribed fire on the buried seed bank, the effects of a low-intensity prescribed fire management regime—one that involves repeated low intensity burns—on the buried seed bank are unknown and should be a focus of fu- ture studies across mixed-oak forests in the eastern US.
  • References (57)
  • Citations (14)
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References57
Newest
#1Cathryn H. Greenberg (USFS: United States Forest Service)H-Index: 27
#2Tara L. Keyser (USFS: United States Forest Service)H-Index: 12
Last. Gordon S. Warburton (North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission)H-Index: 7
view all 6 authors...
Abstract Restoration of structure and function of mixed-oak (Quercus spp.) forests is a focal issue of forest land managers in the eastern United States due to widespread regeneration failure and poor overstory recruitment of oaks, particularly on productive sites. Prescribed fire is increasingly used as a tool in oak ecosystem restoration, with the goal of reducing competition, and creating light and seedbed conditions conducive to germination and growth of oak seedlings. Yet, oak seedling esta...
15 CitationsSource
#1Jan Plue (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)H-Index: 15
#2Kris Verheyen (UGent: Ghent University)H-Index: 57
Last. Martin Hermy (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)H-Index: 68
view all 9 authors...
Question: (i) How does former land use and land use intensity affect seed bank development during post-agricultural succession? (ii) How does time since the last clear-cut change seed bank composition during post-clear-cut succession? Methods: One data set was compiled per succession type using the following selection criteria: (i) the data set included a successional series, (ii) plots were located in mesotrophic forest plant communities and (iii) vegetation data were available. The post-agricu...
15 CitationsSource
Seed bank composition was sampled in 192–2.5 quadrats, established in six regenerating clearcut (7 years) and six second-growth (125 years) mixed-oak forest stands in southeastern Ohio. Seed bank and aboveground composition diverged markedly (Sorensen's coefficient <10%), emphasizing the importance of fast-growing, early-successional germinants to early ecosystem recovery. Seed richness was significantly () higher in clearcut stands, suggesting declining richness with stand age. Richness estimat...
4 CitationsSource
Abstract We examined vegetation responses to prescribed fire on three mixed-oak sites located in the Blue Ridge Physiographic province of the southern Appalachian Mountains: Alarka Laurel Branch (AL), Robin Branch (RB), and Roach Mill Branch (RM). Each of the study sites was within a sub-watershed that drained a first order stream. Our objectives were to: 1) evaluate overstory mortality following prescribed fire treatments; and 2) assess changes in composition, abundance, and diversity of overst...
15 CitationsSource
#1Elizabeth A. Allen (UNR: University of Nevada, Reno)H-Index: 2
#2Jeanne C. Chambers (USFS: United States Forest Service)H-Index: 37
Last. Robert S. Nowak (UNR: University of Nevada, Reno)H-Index: 36
view all 3 authors...
Pinyon-juniper (Pinus monophylla-Juniperus osteosperma) woodlands are expanding into shrubsteppe ecosystems in western portions of the Great Basin. Often, highly competitive trees displace the understory, and pre- scribed fire is increasingly used as a restoration tool. To inform management decisions about post-fire recovery, we examined immediate and long-term (i.e., 2 growing seasons) responses of the germinable seed bank to a spring pre- scribed fire. One week before and 1 week after a May 20...
30 CitationsSource
#1Beatrijs Bossuyt (UGent: Ghent University)H-Index: 27
#2Olivier Honnay (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)H-Index: 51
Abstract Question: Can seeds in the seed bank be considered as a potential source of material for the restoration of European plant communities including forest, marsh, grassland and heathland? Methods: This study reviews seed bank studies (1990–2006) to determine if they provide useful and reliable results to predict restoration success. We formally selected 102 seed bank studies and analyzed differences between four plant community types in several seed bank characteristics, such as seed densi...
205 CitationsSource
#1Jamie L. SchulerH-Index: 1
#2Hal O. LiechtyH-Index: 12
Much information is available describing the effects of fire on the survival, growth, and sprouting ability of hardwood stems. This information is generally used for predicting the response of established trees and advance reproduction to various burning treatments during the process of regenerating new stands. This study describes an often overlooked component of reproduction--the soil seed bank. The seed bank consists of stored seeds that are freshly fallen or older seeds that are viable but d...
3 Citations
#1Lisa R. Schelling (OU: Ohio University)H-Index: 1
#2Brian C. McCarthy (OU: Ohio University)H-Index: 33
Abstract Prescribed fire and thinning are commonly employed management practices in mixed-oak forests of the central Appalachians. The effects of these practices on the soil seed bank are important to consider in order to evaluate the full impact of these treatments on plant community dynamics in the understory. Species composition of the soil seed bank was examined under three treatments: thin, burn, and thin followed by burning, and an untreated control. Thinning was conducted in Fall 2000, an...
5 CitationsSource
#1Kristine N. Hopfensperger (UMCES: University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science)H-Index: 14
The relationship between above and belowground species composition has been researched in forests, grasslands, and wetlands to understand what mechanisms control community composition. I thoroughly reviewed 108 articles published between 1945 and 2006 that summarized and provided specific values on similarities between above and belowground communities to identify common trends among ecosystems. Using Sorenson's index of similarity, I found that standing vegetation and its associated seed bank w...
210 CitationsSource
#1Péter Csontos (MTA: Hungarian Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 13
Definitions of seed banks are discussed in the introductory part of the paper. In the second part, a literature review regarding sampling problems in soil seed bank ecology is presented. Regarding sampling depth, a rapid decline in soil seed content is demonstrated from example studies. The use of soil cores with 5 cm or 10 cm depth is suggested to ensure comparability of results. For determination of optimal sample volumes for various communities, the species saturation model is suggested such ...
36 CitationsSource
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#1Andrew L. Vander Yacht (UT: University of Tennessee)H-Index: 3
#2Patrick D. Keyser (UT: University of Tennessee)H-Index: 18
Last. Dean M. Simon (North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission)H-Index: 9
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#1Tristan M. Cofer (UTSA: University of Texas at San Antonio)H-Index: 4
#2Katherine J. Elliott (USFS: United States Forest Service)H-Index: 20
Last. Chelcy Ford Miniat (USFS: United States Forest Service)H-Index: 15
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#1Scott R. Abella (UNR: University of Nevada, Reno)H-Index: 24
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To advance predictive ecology, the hypothesis of hierarchical predictability proposes that community measures for which species are interchangeable (e.g., structure and species richness) are more predictable than measures for which species identity matters (e.g., community composition). Predictability is hypothesized to decrease for response measures in order of the following categories: structure, species richness, function, and species composition. We tested this hypothesis using a 14-year, oa...
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#1Scott R. Abella (UNLV: University of Nevada, Las Vegas)H-Index: 24
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Abstract Forest plantations occupy 2% of Earth's land surface and are increasingly important in biological conservation both through their establishment and removal. To restore conservation-priority oak savannas and prairies in the Midwestern United States, we began a conifer plantation removal experiment in northwestern Ohio in 2002 and measured plant community response, including nectar plants for conservation-priority invertebrates, during a 14-year period. Oak ( Quercus ) trees, crucial to r...
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The removal of fire’s influence on plant community succession has resulted in the near disappearance of oak (Quercus spp.) woodlands and savannas from the Appalachian region. Negative trends in associated plant and wildlife species could be reversed if these communities are restored, but management has been limited by inadequate canopy disturbance, resprouting of woody plants, and a lack of empirical research. To address these issues, we evaluated herbaceous and woody vegetation response (2008–2...
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Prescribed fire is widely used for ecological restoration and fuel reduction in fire-dependent ecosystems, most of which are also prone to drought. Despite the importance of drought in fire-adapted forests, little is known about the cumulative effects of repeated prescribed burning on tree growth and related response to drought. Using dendrochronological data in red pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.)-dominated forests in northern Minnesota, USA, we examined growth responses before and after understory p...
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Prescribed burning is a management instrument applied to reduce the risk of fire and favour revegetation. Our objective was to generate information about the dynamics of post-fire regeneration via the soil seed bank (SSB), for fire management in subtropical forests. Samples taken at soil depths of 0–3cm, 3–6 cm and 6–10 cm before and 5 h after a prescribed burn showed that the fire immediately increased the number of germinable seeds and species in a Mexican pine–oak forest. Most of the germinab...
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Fire and resource managers of the southern Appalachian Mountains, USA, have many questions about the use of prescribed fire and mechanical treatments to meet various land management objectives. Three common objectives include restoration to an open woodland, oak regeneration, and fuel reduction. This paper provides information about reaching each of these three management objectives by using prescribed burning (B), mechanical fuel reduction (M), and a combination of both fire and mechanical trea...
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Prescribed burning (PB) is a widespread management technique for wildfire hazard abatement. Understanding PB effects on tree ecophysiology is key to defining burn prescriptions aimed at reducing fire hazard in Mediterranean pine plantations, such as Pinus pinea L. stands. We assessed physiological responses of adult P. pinea trees to PB using a combination of dendroecological, anatomical, hydraulic and isotopic analyses. Tree-ring widths, xylem cell wall thickness, lumen area, hydraulic diameter...
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