Ground flora is an important response variable to monitor after tree thinning and prescribed burning treatments designed to restore Arizona ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa P.& C. Lawson) forests. This paper reviews published literature on the effects of thinning and burning on ground flora in Arizona ponderosa pine forests in five main categories of research: ground flora biomass, species diversity, plant community composition, population processes, and individual species ecology. Research published to date suggests that thinning and burning generally increase ground flora biomass, whereas other categories of research such as community composition and population processes have been little studied in Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Additional research needs include determining the relative importance of soil seed banks, seed dispersal, and site conditions in post-treatment ground flora compositional dynamics using a demographic approach; developing predictive models for exotic species distribution and containment; monitoring long-term (>5 years) treatment effects; and geographically replicating experiments at dispersed sites differing in ecological conditions to determine the spatial and contextual applicability of research findings. To meet desired outcomes of ecological restoration including criteria for high native and low exotic species diversity, treatments supplementary to thinning and burning such as seeding of native species and life-history specific control methods of exotic species might be needed on some restoration sites.
Arizona; Ecological restoration; Forest ecology; Forest management; Forest thinning; Ground cover plants; Plant communities; Ponderosa pine; Prescribed burning
Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Sciences | Forest Management | Forest Sciences | Plant Sciences
Abella, S. R.
Tree thinning and prescribed burning effects on ground flora in Arizona ponderosa pine forests: A review.
Journal of the Arizona- Nevada Academy of Science, 36