U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 35, January 2009


US government work


In the Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF) in eastern Kentucky, controlled experiments are shedding light on the role of fi re in meeting an urgent need: encouraging regeneration of oak in the forest. Though mature oak dominates the canopy in much of the forest, competition from species that tolerate shade has jeopardized the ability of oak to successfully regenerate. Since 1995, researchers have been collaborating with Forest Service managers, with funding from the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP), to document the multiple effects of prescribed fi re on canopy opening, seedling recruitment, damage to mature trees, fuel loading, and effects on native invasive species in the midstory and understory that compete with oak seedlings for survival. These efforts not only add to the knowledge base; the collaborative nature of the research also opens pathways of communication between researchers and resource managers. In addition, the research teams are engaged in efforts to improve understanding by the general public, who enjoy recreation in the national forest or live in nearby communities, of the important role of fi re on the landscape.