Shortleaf pine and mixed hardwood stands: thirty-four years after regeneration with the fell-and-burn technique in the Southern Appalachian Mountains
There has been considerable interest in developing management techniques for creating mixed shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata)–hardwood forests in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. This interest has increased in recent years due to the need to manage for more diverse and resilient forests, and to reestablish shortleaf pine as a dominant species throughout its native range. The fell-and-burn regeneration technique was developed in the 1980s as a low-cost method to establish planted pines among hardwood sprouts for regenerating mixed species stands. This study documented the success of the fell-and-burn technique for establishing shortleaf pine on moderately productive hardwood sites. Thirty-four years after planting shortleaf pine seedlings among hardwood sprouts, the pines had the largest diameter at breast height (d.b.h.), height, basal area, and volume. One study site, which was intermediate in soil moisture and fertility, had a greater number of hardwoods (particularly oaks) than a more productive site where pine was dominant. Results suggested that the fell-and-burn technique was successful for establishing shortleaf pine among hardwood sprouts, which may meet multiple economic and ecological forest management objectives.