Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 479–487 | Cite as

Dormant Season Prescribed Fire as a Management Tool for the Control of Salix caroliniana Michx. in a Floodplain Marsh

  • Mary Ann B. Lee
  • Kenneth L. Snyder
  • Patricia Valentine-Darby
  • Steven J. Miller
  • Kimberli J. Ponzio


Expansion of woody species into herbaceous wetlands is a serious concern in wetland management. Prescribed fire is often used as a tool to manage woody species, although many species resprout after fire making control problematic. In this study, we assessed the usefulness of repeated dormant season fires for controlling Salix caroliniana (Michx.) in a floodplain marsh in Florida. Salix is a common shrub in southeastern marshes that resprouts prolifically after fire. We compared stem basal area, stem density, and cover of Salix in three adjacent sites in a floodplain marsh in east central Florida. One site was burned once in February 1997, another site was burned in February 1997 and then again in March 1999 and one site was left unburned. At the unburned site, Salix stem basal area, stem density, and cover increased over the course of the study. In the two burned sites, the first fire destroyed large diameter stems and stimulated production of sprouts. As a result, stem basal area and cover decreased but stem density remained unchanged. The second fire caused a decline in stem density and a further decline in cover. Changes in understory species composition and cover could not be attributed to the fires. Our results suggest that dormant season fires are effective in reducing Salix cover and basal area, and that repeated fires have greater effects than a single fire.

Key words

fire resprouting Salix caroliniana willow shrubs succession 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Ann B. Lee
    • 1
  • Kenneth L. Snyder
    • 1
  • Patricia Valentine-Darby
    • 1
    • 2
  • Steven J. Miller
    • 1
  • Kimberli J. Ponzio
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Environmental SciencesSt. Johns River Water Management DistrictPalatkaUSA
  2. 2.Ecology & Environment, Inc.PensacolaUSA

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