Researching effects of prescribed fire in hardwood forests
The Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management Research Work Unit (RWU 4157) is a group of research teams located across the South, strategically placed to conduct research in physiographic sub-regions of the upland hardwood ecosystems including the southern Appalachian Mountains, the Cumberland Plateau, the Boston Mountains, and the Missouri Plateau. Our RWU is one of 16 maintained under the Southern Research Station by the U.S. Forest Service. Our mission is to develop and disseminate knowledge and strategies for restoring, managing, sustaining, and enhancing the vegetation and wildlife of southern upland hardwood forests. Through experimental studies and modeling, our research program focuses on learning and predicting how upland hardwood-dominated forests and wildlife are affected by natural disturbances or silvicultural activities, and how plant and animal responses differ across environmental gradients such as elevation, moisture, and fertility. One of our focal research areas is fire ecology and fire effects on hardwood forests and the wildlife communities they support. Understanding how fire affects upland hardwood forest communities will help land managers to develop scientifically-based methods to meet their management and restoration goals. Here we highlight some of our current studies on fire ecology.