CWT-LTER Data Set Summary

Accession: 4029 CWT Research Theme: Plant Ecology
Contributor: Barton D. Clinton
Title: Post-burn study of woody plants at Devils Den burn site, 1991-1992
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, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, Coweeta LTER, CWT, Devil’s Den, diameter, disturbance, ecosystem response, ecosystems, evergreen stems, fell and burn, fire, fires, forest disturbance, forest structure and function, forest succession, LTER, Man and Biosphere Program, North Carolina, Otto, pine restoration, plant ecology, prescribed burning, regeneration, restoration, silviculture, site preparation, Southern Appalachains, Southern Appalachian Forest Ecosystems Project, stems, uneven sampling frequency, US Forest Service-funded, USDA Forest Service
LTER Core Area: Disturbance Patterns
CWT Themes: Plant Ecology, Disturbance and Land Use, Ecosystem Ecology
Study Type: Coweeta Terrestrial Study
Study Period: 01-Jan-1991 to 30-Dec-1992
Site References:
SOUTHERNAP -- Southern Appalachia, Parts of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia
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Data Table: 4029 (Main data table for data set 4029, 1586)

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 Year YYYY integer Sampling year
2 Site none integer Coded variable for sampling site
3 Plot none integer Sampling plot number; plots were 3 meters by 3 meters.
4 Subplot none integer Sampling subplot number
5 Species none integer Coded variable for woody species name
6 Diameter_stems cm floating-point Diameter of sample stems in centimeters
7 Number_evergreen_stems count integer Number of evergreen stems in each one meter square plot
8 Area_evergreen_stems cm^2 floating-point Area of evergreen stems in centimeters squared in each on meter square plot