Overstory management to regenerate longleaf pine and control invasive Chinese tallow in fire ecosystems
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
DepartmentForestry and Wildlife Science
MetadataShow full item record
The native longleaf pine ecosystem is one of the most important, and depleted, ecosystems in the southeastern United States. Restoring this habitat is of major importance to land managers and conservationists alike. Unfortunately, invasive species such as the Chinese tallow tree have become a problem in areas within the natural geographic range of longleaf pine. Invasive species threaten to change the way forests are managed and how restoration efforts are conducted. The purpose of my research was twofold; the first objective was to understand the natural regeneration patterns of longleaf pine as related to different basal area management classes and fire history, as well as evaluating whether there is a clear zone of exclusion around mature trees. The second objective was looking at the re-sprouting characteristics of Chinese tallow following felling operations in association with prescribed burning, canopy closure, stump diameter size, and cutting height. We found that longleaf pine regeneration was successful only at low basal areas (<60 square feet/acre) even though seedlings occurred across a wide range of basal area sites (29-127 square feet/acre). There was little evidence of seedling or sapling exclusion near existing overstory trees. Chinese tallow stump sprouting was not controlled by mechanical cutting or fire except under conditions of high canopy cover. The mortality rate in these areas was 40% compared to just 1% in low canopy cover areas.