Repeated Application of Fuel Reduction Treatments in the Southern Appalachian Mountains: Implications for Achieving Management Goals
Fuel reduction treatments included prescribed burning, mechanical fuel reduction, and a combination of both fire and mechanical treatment. Mechanical fuel reduction consisted of chainsaw felling of shrubs and small trees in 2002. Prescribed burning was conducted in the winters of 2003, 2006, and 2012. Each treatment proved to be viable for southern Appalachian sites but produced differing results.
Stand structure was changed by each active treatment but none of the treatments restored the areas to open woodlands. Areas treated with a combination of mechanical fuel reduction and burning developed the desired overstory structure, but trees and shrubs sprouted on the forest floor, preventing grasses and flowers from becoming established. All the treatments increased oak reproduction, and also reduced the shrub layer. The degree of fuel reduction differed by treatment. Prescribed fire and the combination of prescribed fire and mechanical removal reduced most fuels and likely reduced the severity of a subsequent wildfire. The Forest Service scientists concluded that fires should be conducted more frequently in order to meet management goals.
|Repeated application of fuel reduction treatments in the southern Appalachian Mountains, USA: implications for achieving management goals||(publication)|
Forest Service Partners