Date of this Version
Fire Science Brief, Issue 96, March 2010
Once the dominant overstory tree across much of the Southeastern United States, the longleaf pine species declined until it faced a high risk of extinction. But due to recent interest in longleaf pine, there is a new focus on managing and restoring the species. Historically, fire has been an important component in maintaining the longleaf pine ecosystem. To help recreate the pre-settlement conditions in which longleaf flourished, prescribed burning is being used. There is concern, however, that by using fire as a management tool, some trees could be lost due to fire-induced mortality. Therefore, a balance must be reached between keeping fire at adequate levels to achieve restoration objectives while minimizing the mortality of longleaf pine trees. In order to fulfill both goals, managers must be able to accurately predict tree mortality. To predict and plan for fire effects, resource managers, planners, and analysts have been using the First Order Fire Effects Model (FOFEM). However, FOFEM was originally developed using data mainly from western conifer forests. As a result, researchers sought to accommodate the needs of managers of the longleaf pine forests by developing new equations based on data from published and unpublished prescribed fire studies. These newly developed models were then incorporated into a new version of FOFEM that can now help predict longleaf pine tree mortality.