• Effects of Fire and Neighboring Trees on Ashe Juniper

      Noel, Jill M.; Fowler, Norma L. (Society for Range Management, 2007-11-01)
      The survival of Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei Buchh.) plants of all sizes was compared between paired burned and unburned plots in four savanna sites on the eastern Edwards Plateau. Smaller plants were less likely to survive a fire than larger plants, over the entire range of plant sizes. Overall fire survival rates varied from <45% (0- to 50-cm-tall plants) to <92% (> 2-m-tall plants). The high rate of survival of small plants indicates that fires like those typically used in this region are not likely to control even the early stages of the encroachment of Ashe juniper. If fire is to be used to maintain savannas in this region, multiple burns, more intense fires, or supplementary mechanical removal will probably be needed. Junipers 0 to 200 cm tall were significantly more likely to be growing under the canopy of a tree (defined as a plant > 2 m tall of any species) than in the open. Small (0 to 50 cm tall) junipers under a tree canopy were significantly more likely to be alive than plants in the same size class growing in the open, suggesting facilitation of small Ashe juniper by neighboring trees. There was, however, no significant effect of neighboring trees on the rate at which small Ashe juniper survived fire, contrary to our initial expectation.