A Comparison of Fire Intensity levels for stand replacement of table mountain pine (Pinus pungens Lamb.)
Stand-replacement prescribed fire has been recommended to regenerate stands of table mountain pine (Pinus pungens Lamb.) in the Southern Appalachian Mountains because the species has serotinous cones and is shade intolerant. A 350 ha prescribed fire in northeast Georgia provided an opportunity to observe overstory mortality and regeneration of table mountain pine at various levels of fire intensity. Fire intensity for each of 60 study plots was classified by discriminant function analysis. Fires of low and medium-low intensity gave rise to abundant regeneration but may not have killed enough of the overstory to prevent shading. High-intensity fires killed almost all overstory trees but may have destroyed some of the seeds. Fires of medium-high intensity may have been the best choice; they killed overstory trees and allowed abundant regeneration. The forest floor remained thick after fires of all intensities, but roots of pine seedlings penetrated duff layers up to 7.5 cm thick to reach the mineral soil. In this study area, fire intensity levels did not have to reach extreme levels in order to successfully regenerate table mountain pine.