Vegetation dynamics after spring and summer fires in red and white pine stands at Voyageurs National Park

Natural Areas Journal
By:  and 



Conducting dormant season or springtime prescribed fire treatments has become a common practice in many regions of the United States to restore ecosystems to their natural state. Despite the knowledge that historically, fires often occurred during the summer, the application of summer burns has been deterred, in part, by a lack of understanding of fire season effects on vegetation. We explored the differences in fire effects between spring and summer burns at Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota. The fire season effects on the ground layer vegetation were clearly different among the treatments: pre-burn, spring, and summer. Vegetation composition of pre-burn and after spring fires was similar, but differed significantly from the summer fires. Spring fires propagated the same species that were present prior to the fire, whereas summer fires promoted a new suite of species through the germination of seedbank and high seed dispersal species. Cover and richness of seed bank and intolerant species were greatest after the summer fires, which contributed to the peak in richness found across all reproductive and tolerance attributes five years after these fires. Post summer fire composition showed shifts in composition through time. Substantial differences in the effects of burn seasonality on ground layer vegetation should be considered in long term restoration efforts to help maintain species diversity in red and white pine forest ecosystems.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Vegetation dynamics after spring and summer fires in red and white pine stands at Voyageurs National Park
Series title Natural Areas Journal
DOI 10.3375/043.034.0406
Volume 34
Issue 4
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Natural Areas Association
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 16 p.
First page 443
Last page 458
Country United States
State Minnesota
Other Geospatial Voyageurs National Park
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N