The fundamentals of release burning with emphasis on the shelterwood-burn techniqueThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Release burning is the term used to describe prescribed fire conducted in the mid- to latter stages of the oak (Quercus spp.) regeneration process to promote the dominance of oak reproduction. In this context, the fire exploits differences in resource allocation (roots versus stems) between oak seedlings and those of other hardwoods to free the oaks from excessive competition. Fire seasonality and fire intensity strongly influence release burning outcomes with hot fires conducted in late spring being most beneficial for promoting oak dominance. However, release burning must be used wisely as it can produce unintended consequences regarding whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) browsing, damage to overstory trees, invasive species, and smoke impacts.