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Prescribed burning in the oak pine forest of the new jersey usa pine barrens effects on growth and nutrient dynamics of two quercus species


Prescribed burning in the oak pine forest of the new jersey usa pine barrens effects on growth and nutrient dynamics of two quercus species



American Midland Naturalist 120(1): 108-119



ISSN/ISBN: 0003-0031

To determine the effect of the transient increase in nutrient availability which follows prescribed burning in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, we monitored growth and foliar nutrient dynamics of white oak (Quercus alba) and chestnut oak (Q. prinus) in neighboring burned and unburned plots. Growth rates of oak trees in the burned plot were significantly higher in 1985 (the postburn year) than in the 4 years prior to the fire. Growth increases in the burned site averaged 55% for white oak and 38% for chestnut oak. In contrast, relative growth rates of reference site Quercus trees did not differ between preburn and postburn years. Phosphorus resorption and calcium deposition in chestnut oak were greater in the burned site, though growth efficiencies did not differ between chestnut oak trees in the burned and reference sites. Calcium deposition and phosphorous growth efficiency of white oak were greater in the burned site; no differences in white oak N or P resorption were noted. These oaks showed rapid growth responses to the transient increases in nutrient supply produced by prescribed burning. Pinus rigida growth also increased slightly, though the increase was less than those of the oaks. These results contradict earlier assertions of the efficacy of sporadic prescribed burning as a management tool in these oak-pine forests and suggest that sporadic prescribed burning may accelerate, not retard, succession toward oak dominance.

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Accession: 006174692

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