Influence of repeated prescribed fire on tree growth and mortality in Pinus resinosa forests, northern Minnesota

Forest Science
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

Prescribed fire is widely used for ecological restoration and fuel reduction in fire-dependent ecosystems, most of which are also prone to drought. Despite the importance of drought in fire-adapted forests, little is known about cumulative effects of repeated prescribed burning on tree growth and related response to drought. Using dendrochronological data in red pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.)-dominated forests in northern Minnesota, USA, we examined growth responses before and after understory prescribed fires between 1960 and 1970, to assess whether repeated burning influences growth responses of overstory trees and vulnerability of overstory tree growth to drought. We found no difference in tree-level growth vulnerability to drought, expressed as growth resistance, resilience, and recovery, between areas receiving prescribed fire treatments and untreated forests. Annual mortality rates during the period of active burning were also low (less than 2%) in all treatments. These findings indicate that prescribed fire can be effectively integrated into management plans and climate change adaptation strategies for red pine forest ecosystems without significant short- or long-term negative consequences for growth or mortality rates of overstory trees.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Influence of repeated prescribed fire on tree growth and mortality in Pinus resinosa forests, northern Minnesota
Series title Forest Science
DOI 10.5849/forsci.16-035
Volume 63
Issue 1
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Society of American Foresters (SAF)
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 7 p.
First page 94
Last page 100
Country United States
State Minnesota