Regenerative response of a southern Appalachian forest to surface wildfire and canopy gap disturbance
Markwith, Scott Howard
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Tree regenerative response after surface wildfire and within canopy gaps was examined in second-growth stands on sub-mesic slopes along the Blue Ridge in northeast Georgia. The understory was sampled in ten burned and ten unburned plots consisting of nested quadrats in gaps and non-gaps. Understory diversity, density, mean size, and species composition differed significantly between burned and unburned plots. Diversity and mean size were lower in burned plots, although density was higher in burned plots relative to unburned plots. Shade-intolerant species, Liriodendron tulipifera L. and Robinia pseudo-acacia L., had much greater abundance in burned plots, although Acer rubrum L. maintained dominance in both the burned and unburned understory. The evidence collected for this research supported neither the gap partitioning or density hypotheses.