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Abstract

Although fire has been used extensively over long periods of time in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) ecosystems, little is known concerning the effects of frequent fire use on nutrient cycling and decomposition. To better understand the long-term effects of fire on these processes, foliar litter decomposition rates were quantified in a study investigating prescribed fire and uneven-aged loblollypine management in the Upper Coastal Plain in Arkansas. Part of the study area had been burned on a 2- to 3-year cycle since 1981, whereas another portion had not received any prescribed fires. Decomposition rates were determined by placing foliar litter from each area in litterbags, installing these bags in the field within each area, and monitoring the litter mass loss over a 10-month period. During this period, no differences were found in decomposition rates between the burned and unburned areas. However, an initial increase in decomposition was found in litterfall collected from the burned areas when compared with litterfall collected from unburned areas.

COinS