Effects of simulated prescribed fire on American chestnut and northern red oak regenerationThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
American chestnut (Castanea dentata [Marsh.] Borkh.) was a dominant species in the forests of eastern North America prior to the importation of chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica [Murr.] Barr) in the early 1900s and ink disease (Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands) in the 1800s (Anagnostakis 2012). Historical accounts and phylogeny (Manos et al. 2001) suggest chestnut may have certain disturbance adaptations similar to oak (Quercus spp.), including the ability to prolifically sprout following topkill (Paillet 2002). However, the response of chestnut to fire has only been observed in mature individuals, not in seedlings which would be used during restoration attempts. The objective of this study was to compare American chestnut's response to prescribed fire to that of the closely related red oak (Q. rubra L.). We hypothesized that available light and initial stem diameter would positively affect the vigor of sprouts produced (Dey 1991, Johnson et al. 2002).