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The Effect Of Fire On Organic Soil Layers And Pinus Palustris

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Abstract Fire has long been used as a management tool all over the world. In our study we designed 2 experiments to investigate the affect fire has on both organic soil layers and Pinus palustris (Longleaf pine) saplings. For this study, a sapling is a youth Longleaf pine less than 2m in height in addiction to one you can wrap your fingers around. The organic soil layer is made of undecomposed plant matter (litter). Samples were taken from 2 different forests located behind the UNCW campus. A prescribed burn was conducted in Forest B in 2011 and Forest C has not been burned since the 1980’s. In the analysis of our collected data, we expected more Pinus palustris saplings in the recently burned forest and a deeper organic layer in the unburned forest. Quadrats and soil sample cores were used to compile the data. As predicted, there were more Pinus palustris saplings in the recently burned forest. However, organic soil layers greatly varied throughout both forests, and overall there was not a significant difference between the two. Many components could have factored in the mixed depths including temperature, weather, moisture, and slope. However, in many studies on this matter, it is concluded that generally speaking, prescribed burns do not have a significant affect on the organic soil layer unless it was burned within the year.

Introduction Typically considered to be a negative disturbance in an ecosystem, fire, is an essential tool for the management of the
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