5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Monday, 17 November 2003
The relationship of stand structure in burned and unburned areas to dogwood (Cornus florida L.) survival in Great Smoky Mountain National Park
Eric J. Holzmueller, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; and S. Jose and M. A. Jenkins
Survival of flowering dogwood (Cornus florida L.), one of the most common understory species in eastern forests, is threatened by a fungus, Discula destructiva, the causal agent of dogwood anthracnose. Where anthracnose is present, mortality of Cornus florida has been quite high. Currently there are no management plans to protect populations of dogwood in eastern forests. This study looks at Cornus florida in burned and unburned areas in Great Smoky Mountain National Park (GSMNP). Stand composition, structure, microenvironment, and soil conditions of burned and unburned areas are being evaluated to see how Cornus florida is affected by fire. Preliminary results indicate that heavy Cornus florida mortality has occurred in the western GSMNP over the past two decades (between 1977 and 2000). However, Cornus florida density doubled in burned areas compared to unburned areas, likely a result of stump sprouting and reduced shading in burned stands. Over the same interval, understory species density decreased and overstory species density increased in unburned oak-hickory and oak-pine sites. Burned plots had similar understory and overstory densities between 1977 and 2000 interval.

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