Bmudder - Thanks for the thorough reply. Actually this is Brett! (thus the Go Lumberjacks) I knew it was you but just wanted to see what your response would be! Hope my questions weren't too pointed - I just see very few conclusive results (or results I trust) in the season-of-burn literature mainly due to the lack of fire behavior data and the short-term nature of most studies. Some of the long-term studies have provided useful data (Santee plots, Tall Timbers, St. Marks, etc.), but I interpret some of the results differently than other fire ecologists I've spoken with. As far as growing season burns and legume response, you may find the following article interesting:
Hiers, J.K., R. Wyatt, R. Mitchell. 2000. The effects of fire regime on legum reproduction in longleaf pine savannas: is a season selective? Oecologia 125:521-530.
You summed it up perfectly in your last sentence about burning safely year round. The literature (and data) agrees that fire frequency is the key fire regime componenet in longleaf systems, so burn cautiously in the growing season to decrease the long-term fire return interval, favor the flowering of certain species, and increase disturbance heterogeneity. I say cautiously because I've seen as many negative effects of growing season burns in longleaf in terms of canopy and old-growth loss as I have positives...
Thanks again for the articles and keep posting!
We sampled as many of the 600 plots as we could over a 3-month period. Basically we collected as much data as we could when we could. We tried to take into account every variable possible including time-since-last-burn, which we used as a covariate when appropriate. Not sure if results would have been different. Veg. cover seems to be the fastest and easiest method to replicate and the most consistent to use for comparison, say if we ever do get a chance to sample again.
We would really like to get some fire behavior data and sample at regular intervals, but the realities of time, money, and energy just won't allow. These fires vary day to day, season to season, year to year, and so on... Considering the limitations we have, I think simple measures replicated over the long term can provide some pretty important information for making these season-of-burn decisions. This study confirms a lot of what managers already thought was going on just by observation and encourages burning during the growing season when possible (if you are interested in promoting grasses and legumes). From our restoration perspective, we say burn when you safely can, dormant or growing season. We realize it is getting harder and harder every year for land managers to get fire on the ground, hopefully our research can inform decision-makers to make it a little easier.
Is Brett Williams still out there at Eglin? Please tell him that Mr. Mudder says hello!
(09-04-2011 03:57 PM)pyrophile1 Wrote: Interesting articles and thanks for sharing bmudder (go Lumberjacks). Two quick questions on your season of burn gtr: 1) what time of year did you sample your plots and were they all sampled at the same time of year regardless of time-since-burn? 2) Do you think the results would have been different if you used a diferent measure of abundance aside from % cover, such as density, or did you feel that % cover was adequate (based on your experience sampling the plots)? Apologies for the questions, but I'm always suspicious of a) sampling methodologies confounding results and b) lack of fire behavior measurements in season-of-burn literature. I've seen cool summer burns and hot dormant season burns plenty of times. Do you plan to continue this study long-term?
The RCW article was informative as well. Here at Eglin, we burn year round, but the majority of our acreage is in the dormant season, and we've had an exponential growth in RCW over the past 10 years. So much so that we're now a recovered population.