A meta-analysis of the fire-oak hypothesis

Does prescribed burning promote oak reproduction in Eastern North America?

Patrick Hugh Brose, Daniel C. Dey, Ross J. Phillips, Thomas A. Waldrop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The fire-oak hypothesis asserts that the current lack of fire is a reason behind the widespread oak (Quercus spp.) regeneration difficulties of eastern North America, and use of prescribed burning can help solve this problem. We performed a meta-analysis on the data from 32 prescribed fire studies conducted in mixed-oak forests to test whether they supported the latter assertion. Overall, the results suggested that prescribed fire can contribute to sustaining oak forests in some situations, and we identified several factors key to its successful use. Prescribed fire reduced midstory stem density, although this reduction was concentrated in the smaller-diameter stems. Prescribed fire preferentially selected for oak reproduction and against mesophytic hardwood reproduction, but this difference did not translate to an increase in the relative abundance of oak in the advance regeneration pool. Fire equalized the height growth rates of the two species groups. Establishment of new oak seedlings tended to be greater in burned areas than in unburned areas. Generally, prescribed burning provided the most benefit to oak reproduction when the fires occurred during the growing season and several years after a substantial reduction in overstory density. Single fires conducted in closed-canopy stands had little impact in the short term, but multiple burns eventually did benefit oaks in the long term, especially when followed by a canopy disturbance. Finally, we identify several future research needs from our review and synthesis of the fire-oak literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-334
Number of pages13
JournalForest Science
Volume59
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 16 2013

Fingerprint

prescribed burning
meta-analysis
Quercus
regeneration
North America
oak
canopy
stem
overstory
stems
hardwood
relative abundance
growing season
seedling
disturbance

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Ecological Modeling

Cite this

Brose, Patrick Hugh ; Dey, Daniel C. ; Phillips, Ross J. ; Waldrop, Thomas A. / A meta-analysis of the fire-oak hypothesis : Does prescribed burning promote oak reproduction in Eastern North America?. In: Forest Science. 2013 ; Vol. 59, No. 3. pp. 322-334.
@article{c5d1889f827746c7975eb46a73dd6219,
title = "A meta-analysis of the fire-oak hypothesis: Does prescribed burning promote oak reproduction in Eastern North America?",
abstract = "The fire-oak hypothesis asserts that the current lack of fire is a reason behind the widespread oak (Quercus spp.) regeneration difficulties of eastern North America, and use of prescribed burning can help solve this problem. We performed a meta-analysis on the data from 32 prescribed fire studies conducted in mixed-oak forests to test whether they supported the latter assertion. Overall, the results suggested that prescribed fire can contribute to sustaining oak forests in some situations, and we identified several factors key to its successful use. Prescribed fire reduced midstory stem density, although this reduction was concentrated in the smaller-diameter stems. Prescribed fire preferentially selected for oak reproduction and against mesophytic hardwood reproduction, but this difference did not translate to an increase in the relative abundance of oak in the advance regeneration pool. Fire equalized the height growth rates of the two species groups. Establishment of new oak seedlings tended to be greater in burned areas than in unburned areas. Generally, prescribed burning provided the most benefit to oak reproduction when the fires occurred during the growing season and several years after a substantial reduction in overstory density. Single fires conducted in closed-canopy stands had little impact in the short term, but multiple burns eventually did benefit oaks in the long term, especially when followed by a canopy disturbance. Finally, we identify several future research needs from our review and synthesis of the fire-oak literature.",
author = "Brose, {Patrick Hugh} and Dey, {Daniel C.} and Phillips, {Ross J.} and Waldrop, {Thomas A.}",
year = "2013",
month = "6",
day = "16",
doi = "10.5849/forsci.12-039",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "59",
pages = "322--334",
journal = "Forest Science",
issn = "0015-749X",
publisher = "Society of American Foresters",
number = "3",

}

A meta-analysis of the fire-oak hypothesis : Does prescribed burning promote oak reproduction in Eastern North America? / Brose, Patrick Hugh; Dey, Daniel C.; Phillips, Ross J.; Waldrop, Thomas A.

In: Forest Science, Vol. 59, No. 3, 16.06.2013, p. 322-334.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - A meta-analysis of the fire-oak hypothesis

T2 - Does prescribed burning promote oak reproduction in Eastern North America?

AU - Brose, Patrick Hugh

AU - Dey, Daniel C.

AU - Phillips, Ross J.

AU - Waldrop, Thomas A.

PY - 2013/6/16

Y1 - 2013/6/16

N2 - The fire-oak hypothesis asserts that the current lack of fire is a reason behind the widespread oak (Quercus spp.) regeneration difficulties of eastern North America, and use of prescribed burning can help solve this problem. We performed a meta-analysis on the data from 32 prescribed fire studies conducted in mixed-oak forests to test whether they supported the latter assertion. Overall, the results suggested that prescribed fire can contribute to sustaining oak forests in some situations, and we identified several factors key to its successful use. Prescribed fire reduced midstory stem density, although this reduction was concentrated in the smaller-diameter stems. Prescribed fire preferentially selected for oak reproduction and against mesophytic hardwood reproduction, but this difference did not translate to an increase in the relative abundance of oak in the advance regeneration pool. Fire equalized the height growth rates of the two species groups. Establishment of new oak seedlings tended to be greater in burned areas than in unburned areas. Generally, prescribed burning provided the most benefit to oak reproduction when the fires occurred during the growing season and several years after a substantial reduction in overstory density. Single fires conducted in closed-canopy stands had little impact in the short term, but multiple burns eventually did benefit oaks in the long term, especially when followed by a canopy disturbance. Finally, we identify several future research needs from our review and synthesis of the fire-oak literature.

AB - The fire-oak hypothesis asserts that the current lack of fire is a reason behind the widespread oak (Quercus spp.) regeneration difficulties of eastern North America, and use of prescribed burning can help solve this problem. We performed a meta-analysis on the data from 32 prescribed fire studies conducted in mixed-oak forests to test whether they supported the latter assertion. Overall, the results suggested that prescribed fire can contribute to sustaining oak forests in some situations, and we identified several factors key to its successful use. Prescribed fire reduced midstory stem density, although this reduction was concentrated in the smaller-diameter stems. Prescribed fire preferentially selected for oak reproduction and against mesophytic hardwood reproduction, but this difference did not translate to an increase in the relative abundance of oak in the advance regeneration pool. Fire equalized the height growth rates of the two species groups. Establishment of new oak seedlings tended to be greater in burned areas than in unburned areas. Generally, prescribed burning provided the most benefit to oak reproduction when the fires occurred during the growing season and several years after a substantial reduction in overstory density. Single fires conducted in closed-canopy stands had little impact in the short term, but multiple burns eventually did benefit oaks in the long term, especially when followed by a canopy disturbance. Finally, we identify several future research needs from our review and synthesis of the fire-oak literature.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84879437213&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84879437213&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.5849/forsci.12-039

DO - 10.5849/forsci.12-039

M3 - Article

VL - 59

SP - 322

EP - 334

JO - Forest Science

JF - Forest Science

SN - 0015-749X

IS - 3

ER -