Composition and structure of managed pine stands compared to reference longleaf pine sites on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North CarolinaThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
We sampled the ground layer of 28 pine plantations to compare with ecological reference sites at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune (MCBCL), NC. Plantations were = 18 years old and had been burned within the previous year. Pines had been hand-planted on beds or fl at-planted, and the plantations were burned every 3 to 4 years after age 7. Data from 39 reference sites were acquired from the Carolina Vegetation Survey database, and included MCBCL sites that had been maintained by regular burning. We used non-metric dimensional scaling to detect patterns in the data. Ordination arrayed plots by canopy structure and soil base saturation on one axis and by diversity measures on a second. Results of a multi-response permutation procedure indicated that the compositional difference between the groups was significant (p<.0001). Although species richness in plantations was consistently lower than that in reference sites, the differences were significant (p<.05) only at small scales. Results confirmed a reduction in desirable native ground layer species along with increased shrub cover and woody stem density, in spite of regular prescribed burning.