Interactions among prescribed fire, herbivore pressure and shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) regeneration following southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis) mortality

Aerin D. Land, Lynne K. Rieske

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9 Scopus citations


We monitored natural and artificially regenerating shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) seedlings and their associated herbivores in forests stands that suffered extensive overstory mortality due to the southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis). Seedling performance was evaluated based on survival and absolute and relative growth rates. Trapping stations were established to monitor the abundance and seasonal activity of pine regeneration insects. Seedlings were regularly inspected for the frequency and severity of herbivore pressure. Seedling performance, insect abundance and activity, and herbivore pressure were compared between stands treated with prescribed fire and untreated controls. Survival and absolute growth rates were greatest for naturally regenerating seedlings. Naturally regenerating seedlings grew more vigorously in the burned areas, but prescribed fire did not influence the growth of planted seedlings. Relative height growth comparisons indicated the growth potential of planted seedlings was not significantly different from that of the natural seedlings. Herbivore pressure was greater on natural regeneration, possibly due to superior seedling health and vigor. Pine weevil (Hylobius pales and Pissodes nemorensis) and Nantucket pine tip moth (Rhyacionia frustrana) abundance and herbivore pressure did not differ between the burned and unburned stands, but there was a significant interaction between sampling date and prescribed fire on their seasonal activity. Conifer sawfly (Hymenoptera: Diprionidae) abundance and activity was effectively suppressed by prescribed fire treatments. Pine webworm (Tetralopha robustella) infestations occurred with greater frequency and severity on seedlings growing in burned areas. Mammalian herbivory was minimal. Herbivore-induced seedling mortality was low, and herbivory did not reduce seedling growth. Growth of naturally regenerating shortleaf pine seedlings was greater in burned plots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-269
Number of pages10
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Joe Anderson, Kerry Atherton, Beth Choate, Tom Coleman, Angela Cooper, Rodney Cooper, Allison Dunn, Isaah Land, Shelley Kellogg, Nathan Kunze, Preeyanut Phumkhem, Katie Russell, Ryan Readnower and Neil Wilson for their technical assistance. Paul Cornelius and Scott McClintock provided statistical assistance, and Robert Paratley and Robert Volk provided advice and expertise. Lee Townsend and Ken Yeargan provided useful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. Funding was provided by the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station and McIntire Stennis funds through the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station, and is published as Experiment Station Project 06-08-075.


  • Conifer sawflies
  • Herbivory
  • Pine weevils
  • Regeneration insects
  • Seedling growth
  • Tip moths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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