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Fire-scar formation and compartmentalization in oak

Smith, Kevin T.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy. 1999. Fire-scar formation and compartmentalization in oak. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 29: 166-171.

Fire scars result from the death of the vascular cambium resulting from excessive heating, which exposes sapwood to infection and initiates the wood decay process. In southeastern Ohio, prescribed fires in April 1995 and 1997 scarred Quercus prinus L. and Q. velutina Lam. Low-intensity fires scorched bark and produced scars, primarily on the downslope side of the stem. Eighteen scorched trees (4-23 cm at DBH) were dissected in November 1997, 14 of which had fire scars. The vascular cambium beneath natural bark fissures was most vulnerable to injury. No charred or scorched wood was associated with scars of trees exposed to single fires; wood exposed by scars from the 1995 fire was charred by the 1997 fire. Consistent with the compartmentalization process, discoloration and whiterot occurred within compartment boundaries of wood present at the time of wounding. Scars from the prescribed fires were consistent in size and shape with scars in nearby oak trees previously hypothesized to have been burned prior to 1950.

Keywords: fire scars, oak, Quercus prinus, Quercus velutina

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Fire-scar formation and compartmentalization in oak
Electronic Publish Date: September 27, 2011
Last Update:
September 27, 2011

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