Impacts of logging and prescribed burning in longleaf pine forests managed under uneven-aged silviculture


Abstract: The longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) ecosystem has historically been very important in the southeastern United States due to its extensive area and high biodiversity. Successful regeneration of longleaf pine forests requires an adequate number of well-distributed seedlings. Thus, mortality of longleaf pine seedlings during logging operations and prescribed burning appears to be important. Longleaf forests have been commonly managed using even-aged silvicultural methods, but, recently, interest in the use of uneven-aged (UEA) methods has increased in these forests. Research on the impact of UEA logging in longleaf forests is limited. In addition, the influence of overstory density on the impact of prescribed burning under UEA management has not been sufficiently studied in longleaf pine forests. In this study, impacts of UEA logging and prescribed burning (both growing and dormant seasons) on longleaf pine seedlings were observed. In addition, the impact of logging and burning on hardwood seedlings, which are detrimental for longleaf pine seedlings' survival, was also monitored. Damage of logging on longleaf pine seedlings was less than that on hardwood sprouts. A growing-season burning conducted in September 2011 killed most of the hardwood seedlings; however, most of the advance longleaf pine seedlings survived with an average survival rate of 91%. Impact of a dormant-season burning (conducted in January and February 2014) on the survival of 2-year-old longleaf seedlings increased with increasing stand density. This study shows that prescribed burning may be responsible for longleaf pine seedlings' mortality in some cases. It also suggests that damage of UEA logging on longleaf pine seedlings may be negligible.

Keywords: Logging, longleaf pine, prescribed burning, survival, uneven-aged

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