Using prescribed fire to regenerate Table Mountain pine in the Southern Appalachian Mountains
Stand-replacing prescribed fires are recommended to regenerate stands of Table Mountain pine (Pinus pungens) in the southern Appalachian Mountains because the species has serotinous cones and its seedlings require abundant sunlight and a thin forest floor. A 350-hectare prescribed fire in northeastern Georgia provided an opportunity to observe regeneration success at various fire intensity levels. Fires of low to medium intensity produced abundant regeneration but may not have killed enough of the overstory to prevent shading. High-intensity fires killed almost all overstory trees but may have destroyed some of the seed source. Medium-high intensity fires may be the best choice because they killed overstory trees and pmduced abundant regeneration. The forest floor remained thick after fires of all intensities, but roots of pine seedlings were able to penetrate a duff layer of up to 7.5 centimeters thick to reach mineral soil.