Fire as a Management tool for Oak Hickory Regeneration
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The former pasture that is now Compartment 50 is a naturally regenerated mixture of hardwood and pine species located on the Domain of Sewanee: University of the South at the end of Breakfield Road. The site was reforested with loblolly pine in 1958 at a 6X8’ spacing, and these trees as well as naturally regenerated hardwood species were harvested from the site during the 2001 pine beetle infestation. The goal of this study was to inventory the site prior to a prescribed burn conducted on April 2, 2013 to better understand how the site responded to the 2001 harvest. Data was collected using 1/20th acre plots where number of trees and species were recorded, along with fuel loads and average percent cover in the understory. Pre-treatment inventory of the site indicated a mean of 4,800 seedlings per acre and 3,576 trees per acre. Long-term management goals at this site include a reduction in tree densities, encouragement of the growth of planted shortleaf pine and naturally regenerated oak; all with the use of prescribed fire and targeted thinnings.