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Poster: Hard Mast Production Following Burns

Bates, Peter
link DOWNLOAD FILE: poster

“Hard Mast Production Following Two Prescribed Burns in Western NC”

A.K. Danner1, G.M. Hovis2, B.K. Lovedahl1, and P.C. Bates1
Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC
Forest Stewards, Inc.

From the poster:

Oaks and hickories have replaced the American chestnut as the primary hard mast producing species in the southern Appalachians. Hard mast produced by these trees is a necessary food source for wildlife and is important for species regeneration. Acorn production is variable and can be influenced by weather, insects, wildlife, the tree’s crown position and size, and genetics.

It is thought that fire suppression has resulted in a decline of oak and hickory species and an increase in fire-intolerant, non-mast producing species. Prescribed burning could mitigate this decline since oaks are fire adapted with thick bark and have a quick re-sprout rate. Periodically reintroducing fire could result in more successful regeneration and restoration of oak hickory forests. However, little is known about the effects of fire on mast production.

The purpose of this poster is to examine the effects of prescribed fire on hard mast production in western North Carolina, focusing on how mast trees with different characteristics (species, diameter, relative mast production) might respond to fire.