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In fire-dependent forests, managers are interested in predicting the consequences of prescribed burning on postfire tree mortality. We examined the effects of prescribed fire on tree mortality in Florida Keys pine forests, using a factorial design with understory type, season, and year of burn as factors. We also used logistic regression to model the effects of burn season, fire severity, and tree dimensions on individual tree mortality. Despite limited statistical power due to problems in carrying out the full suite of planned experimental burns, associations with tree and fire variables were observed. Post-fire pine tree mortality was negatively correlated with tree size and positively correlated with char height and percent crown scorch. Unlike post-fire mortality, tree mortality associated with storm surge from Hurricane Wilma was greater in the large size classes. Due to their influence on population structure and fuel dynamics, the size-selective mortality patterns following fire and storm surge have practical importance for using fire as a management tool in Florida Keys pinelands in the future, particularly when the threats to their continued existence from tropical storms and sea level rise are expected to increase.


This article was originally published in Hindawi International Journal of Forestry Research Volume 2010 (2010).

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