CWT-LTER Data Set Summary

Accession: 4032 CWT Research Theme: Disturbance and Land Use
Contributor: Barton D. Clinton
Title: Post-burn study of herbaceous understory plots at Jacobs Creek and Devils Den burn sites, 1990
Abstract: Recent declines in the yellow pine component of pine-hardwood stands in the southern Appalachian Mountains has prompted managers to increase the use of fire as a silviculture tool. The fell and burn treatment is designed to remove competing vegetation (hardwoods and mountain laurel [Kalmia latifolia]) to ensure successful establishment of planted eastern white pine (Pinus strobus). Two years after burning, mountain laurel had accumulated more biomass than any other species and accounted for 43% of total biomass in year 1 and 20% in year 2. By year 4, mountain laurel ranked fifth (8.9% of total) in total biomass among hardwood species behind Allegheny serviceberry (Amalanchier arborea, 14.3%), chestnut oak (Quercus prinus, 13.7%), red maple (Acer rubrum, 12.4%), and scarlet oak (Q. coccinea, 9.3%). Across sites, woody species richness ranged from 19-24 in year 1 and 14-22 in year 4. Species richness varied across sites and years, and there were substantial changes in the distribution of biomass among species. The introduction of fire allowed the once dominant pitch pine (P. rigida) to successfully reestablish. On sites, pine accounted for 25% of pretreatment stem density, but <1% and 2% in the first and fourth growing seasons after burning, respectively. However; in year 1, pines had increased in density 20-fold compared to pretreatment levels, and by year 4, had maintained a 17-fold increase compared to pretreatment. The use of fire in forest management has been the subject of considerable criticism. In light of current public concerns over the loss of critical or unique habitats, fire may gain public support for use as a restoration tool.
Key Words: burning, cover, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, Coweeta LTER, CWT, density, Devil’s Den, ecosystem response, fell and burn, fire, forest structure and function, forest succession, herbaceous species, Jacob’s Branch, LTER, Man and Biosphere Program, North Carolina, Otto, percent cover, pine restoration, plant ecology, prescribed burning, regeneration, restoration, silviculture, site preparation, Southern Appalachian Forest Ecosystems Project, southern Appalachians, uneven sampling interval, US Forest Service-funded, USDA Forest Service
LTER Core Area: Disturbance Patterns
CWT Themes: Disturbance and Land Use, Plant Ecology
Study Type: Coweeta Terrestrial Study
Study Period: 01-Jan-1990 to 30-Dec-1990
Site References:
SOUTHERNAP -- Southern Appalachia, Parts of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia
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Data Table: 4032 (Main data table for data set 4032, 537)

Access: Public (released 01-Feb-2004)

Metadata: Text (ESA FLED), Basic EML, Complete EML

Data Formats: Spreadsheet CSV Text Format, EML-described Text Format, Tab-delimited Text Report with Statistical Summary, GCE Data Toolbox Format, Standard MATLAB Variables Format

Column List:

Column Name Units Type Description (hide)
1 Site none integer Coded variable for sampling site
2 Treatment none integer Coded variable for treatment type
3 Site_and_treatment_type_alpha none alphanumeric string Coded variable for sampling site and treatment type
4 Plot none integer Plot number
5 Subplot none integer Subplot number
6 Species none integer Coded variable for species name (herbaceous vegetation)
7 Percent_cover_herbaceous % floating-point Percent of each plot covered by each herbaceous species
8 Density_herbaceous_species Count/m^2 floating-point Density of each herbaceous species per meter square plot