In the past 40 years, the perception of periodic fire in upland oak (Quercus spp.) forests in the eastern United States has changed dramatically. Once thought of as a wholly destructive force, periodic fire is now considered an important disturbance whose absence is a major contributing factor to oak regeneration problems. This change in attitude and the concurrent development of prescribed fire as an accepted oak regeneration tool are due to several research—management partnerships. Starting in the 1970s, cooperative research between the USDA Forest Service and various land management agencies examined fire effects in mature, uncut oak forests. These failed to regenerate oak but identified some key limitations leading to the failures. Subsequent research in the 1990s shifted to oak shelterwoods and ultimately identified hot spring fires as a treatment that would regenerate oak. Since then, other partnerships have expanded fire– oak research to include woodland restoration burning. This paper reviews the history of cooperative fire– oak research over the past 40 years and the key role partnerships have played in the development of current prescribed fire practices in upland oak forests.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science