Regenerating oak stands on productive upland sites in the Piedmont region is a major problem because of intense competition from yellow-poplar. As a potential solution to this problem, we tested the hypothesis that a shelterwood harvest of an oak-dominated stand, followed several years later by a prescribed fire, would adequately regenerate the stand. Three oak-dominated stands, in which shelterwood harvests had been conducted several years earlier, were each divided into spring burn, summer burn, winter bum, and control treatments. Three years after the prescribed fires, oak had higher density and stocking in burned as compared to unburned areas while yellow-poplar had its highest density and stocking in the controls. Season-of-bum interacted with fire intensity to create several probable outcomes of stand development. Areas treated with high-intensity fire during the spring will develop into oak-dominated stands after just one bum. Controls and areas treated with low-intensity fire will become dominated by yellow-poplar. Other combinations of fire intensity and season-of-bum will produce mixed hardwood stands with varying proportions of oak. Combining shelterwood harvesting with prescribed fire appears to be a viable method for regenerating oak stands on productive upland sites in the Piedmont region and may be applicable elsewhere.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law