Revegetation potential of slash pile burn sites in the longleaf pine ecosystem
Creech, Michelle Nicole
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Restoration of the Pinus palustris ecosystem may incorporate removal of encroaching hardwood species, creating wood debris or “slash” that poses a potential wildfire hazard and is piled and burned on-site. We evaluated the response of soils, vegetation, and the soil seed bank to slash pile burns over a chronosequence of time since burn, and established revegetation treatments of P. palustris and Aristida stricta in recently burned fire scars. We measured lethal soil temperatures during burn and found persistent alteration of soil nutrients at 0-6 years after burn, as well as a drastically reduced seed bank. Recolonizing vegetation in fire scars may not support movement of prescribed fire and thus may allow future hardwood encroachment in these areas. Outcomes of revegetation treatments with native species and topsoil amendments suggest that further restoration of slash pile burn sites to reconnect fire corridors is possible.