Above- and below-ground growth of longleaf pine in response to three prescribed burning regimes
Maintenance of longleaf pine ecosystems requires repeated fire. Past research has indicated that in some situations, regular burning decreases longleaf pine productivity. Growth reductions may be attributed to fire-induced loss of leaf area. It is possible that the loss of leaf area is a function of both fire intensity and the stage of flush development at the time of burning. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of prescribed burning at different stages of branch development on the periodic growth, leaf area dynamics, root elongation and root carbohydrate relations of 45-year-old longleaf pine. We hypothesize that the potential for fire damage to new fascicles will be reflected in leaf area responses to seasonal burning, and that periodic growth, root elongation and root carbohydrate relations will be related to leaf area dynamics.