U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 116, July 2010


US government work.


While awareness of fire’s importance in dry Appalachian forests, and the application of fire as a restoration tool have increased over the last two decades, so too has the post-fire invasion of Paulownia tomentosa (Princess tree). For the last ten years, managers have witnessed Paulownia invasion grow following fi re events. To understand this better, the team studied five life history transitions for the species: seed dispersal, seed germination, seed survival over time through incorporation in the seed bank, initial habitat requirements, and seedling persistence to maturity. Paulownia seeds were found to disperse over two miles from their source tree. Fires of greater severity promote conditions Paulownia favors—exposed soil free of organic litter, and openings in the canopy cover that allow ample light. Subsequent persistence by Paulownia is greatest in the drier and more exposed areas, such as ridges and steep slopes.