Delayed mortality of eastern hardwoods after prescribed fireThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The Southern Appalachian Mountain and the Ohio Hills sites of the National Fire and Fire Surrogate Study are located in hardwood dominated forests. Mortality of trees was anticipated the first year after burning but it continued for up to 4 years after burning, which was not expected. Survival analysis showed that the likelihood of mortality was related to prior tree health, size class, species, and first-order fire effects. Both sites were unmanaged and trees were likely stressed by competition. Burning provided additional stresses through cambial and crown damage which may have predisposed trees to death. This study indicated that monitoring only first-year effects of prescribed fires or wildfires does not provide an accurate assessment of fire impacts. Also, managers should consider tree health when making plans for prescribed burns.