Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service
  
Treesearch

Research & Development Treesearch

 
Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Northern
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help
 

Science.gov - We Participate


USA.gov  Government Made Easy


Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.
20090-6090

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (352 KB)

Title: Fire and the herbaceous layer of eastern oak forests

Author: Hutchinson, Todd;

Date: 2006

Source: In: Dickinson, Matthew B., ed. 2006. Fire in eastern oak forests: delivering science to land managers, proceedings of a conference; 2005 November 15-17; Columbus, OH. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-1. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 136-149.

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Across oak forest landscapes, the herbaceous layer supports the great majority of plant diversity. As the use of prescribed fire increases, it is important to better understand its effects on biodiversity. This paper reviews the current ?state of the knowledge? regarding fire effects on herbaceous layer vegetation. In typical dormant-season fires, direct heating effects are minimal on most herbaceous plants (forbs, grasses, sedges). Although woody plants are topkilled, nearly all resprout. Fire indirectly affects the herb layer by altering the forest floor and soil environments. The consumption of leaf litter during fire stimulates germination for a number of seedbanking species. Three case studies (oak forests in Missouri and Ohio, oak barrens in Illinois) of herb-layer response to fire are reviewed. These and other studies show that species richness and the cover of herbaceous plants usually increase after fire. Fire can have unique effects on herbaceous communities that are not realized with mechanical treatments (e.g., partial harvesting) alone. Although prescribed fire is commonly applied to maintain open-structured habitats that often contain rare plants, it also could be a useful management tool for sustaining and enhancing rare plant populations in upland oak forests. What is lacking most from our knowledge of how fire regimes affect the herbaceous layer of oak forests is: 1) the longterm effects of fire suppression, and 2) the long-term effects of periodic application of prescribed fire.

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • This publication may be available in hard copy. Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
  • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact Sharon Hobrla, shobrla@fs.fed.us if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.

XML: View XML

Citation:


Hutchinson, Todd 2006. Fire and the herbaceous layer of eastern oak forests. In: Dickinson, Matthew B., ed. 2006. Fire in eastern oak forests: delivering science to land managers, proceedings of a conference; 2005 November 15-17; Columbus, OH. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-1. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 136-149.

 


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.