CWT-LTER Data Set Summary

Accession: 4033 CWT Research Theme: Plant Ecology
Contributor: Barton D. Clinton
Title: Post-burn study of woody vegetation at Jacobs Branch East 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: area, burning, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, Coweeta LTER, CWT, ecosystem response, evergreen vegetation, fell and burn, fire, forest structure and function, forest succession, Jacob’s Branch East, LTER, Man and Biosphere Program, North Carolina, Otto, pine restoration, plant ecology, prescribed burning, regeneration, restoration, silviculture, site preparation, Southern Appalachian Forest Ecosystems Project, southern Appalachians, stems, uneven sampling interval, US Forest Service-funded, USDA Forest Service, woody vegetation
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: 4033 (Main data table for data set 4033, 1508)

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 Year of sampling
2 Site none integer Coded variable for sampling site
3 Plot none integer Sampling plot number; Plots were 3 meters by 3 meters each.
4 Subplot none integer Sampling subplot number
5 Species none integer Coded variable for woody species name
6 Diameter_woody_vegetation cm floating-point Diameter of woody vegetation in centimeters
7 Number_of_evergreen_stems count integer Number of evergreen stems of herbaceous vegetation in each one meter square plot
8 Area_evergreen_vegetation cm^2 floating-point Area of evergreen vegetation in square centimeters in each one meter square plot