Fire has shaped the American landscape as much as any other natural or anthropogenic disturbance such as flooding, glaciers, and tornadoes, or logging. Native Americans used fire for thousand of years to facilitate farming, travel, and hunting. Since the 1930s, the United States Forest Service has instituted and maintained a policy of firesuppression. This has changed the composition of American forests allowing shade- tolerant later successional species to thrive, but fire-adapted species are declining. This study establishes a baseline of tree composition of State Game Lands 210 in Dauphin County in Eastern Pennsylvania forest in preparation for the proposed controlled burning by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Nature Conservancy. Thirteen 5376.76ft2 plots within the forest were surveyed and all trees >4 inches in diameter were identified, measured, and tallied as living, dead, or dying. Seedlings and saplings were recorded in smaller nested plots. Oaks composed 46.7% of the basal area of trees, while maples composed 21.8%. We found 243.0 maple saplings and 291.7 seedlings per acre, but no oak saplings and only 72.9 seedlings per acre. We concluded that there was little oak regeneration present. By utilizing controlled burning, the fire adapted oak species would be more likely to regenerate.
Ebert, Samanatha M.
"Oak Regeneration in an Eastern Pennsylvania Forest: Is Prescribed Fire Needed?,"
The Compass: Vol. 1
, Article 8.
Available at: http://scholarworks.arcadia.edu/thecompass/vol1/iss2/8