Fire regimes for pine-grassland communities in the southeastern United States
Abstract - Four combinations of season and frequency of burning were applied in Coastal Plain loblolly pine stands over a 43-year period. Overstory species composition and growth were unaffected by treatment. Above-ground portions of small hardwoods Qess than 12.5 cm d.b.h.1 were hilled and replaced by numerous sprouts under periodic summer, periodic winter, and annual winter burning regimes. With annual summer burning, small hardwoods and shrubs were killed and replaced by vegetation typical of grassland communities. Grasses and forbs also dominated the understory of annual winter burns but numerous hardwood sprouts survived. Study results emphasize that frequent burning over a long period is needed to create and maintain the pine-grassland community observed by the first European settlers of the southeast.