Woodyard Hammock: Role of Fire in Bottomland Forests

Prescribed burn in Woodyard Hammock,  Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, FL.  Photo by Kevin Robertson

Prescribed burn in Woodyard Hammock,
Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, FL.
Photo by Kevin Robertson

The Woodyard Hammock Long-Term Study, initiated by Dr. William Platt in 1978, has followed the growth and death of all trees in a 4.5 hectare (11.25 acres) research plot within an old-growth bottomland beech-magnolia forest. In 2005 the study was passed to the Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Program to be maintained indefinitely. The research plot is being used to study the interacting effects of wind disturbance and fire on bottomland hardwood forests. In 2005, plots covering half of the study area were burned, and the response of the forest community to fire is being recorded in subsequent biennial censuses. Initial tree death was very low, but burning (or lack of burning) may have an effect on which seedlings and saplings survive and thus influence the future composition of the forest.

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