Monitoring & Next Steps

Jones Center staff planting turkey oak seedlings
Joseph W. Jones Center staff planting the turkey oak seedlings. Photo Credit: Seth Bigelow, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center 

Monitoring:

Monitoring is an essential component of the ASCC study. Research partners from several institutions are working together to investigate the effectiveness of different silvicultural treatments aimed at creating adaptive ecosystems. Some of the monitoring items include: 

  • Fuelbed continuity and prescribed burning effectiveness 
  • Diversity of groundcover and woody understory plants 
  • Stand-level water use and water yield 
  • Canopy tree growth 
  • Lizard abundance and habitat quality 
  • Activity patterns of large and small mammals 

Progress & Next Steps:

The Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center installed permanent sample plots and collected pre-treatment data. Harvesting will occur in the winter of 2017/2018. Monitoring will be enhanced by remotely sensed data collected annually by NEON. 

Turkey oak seedlings waiting to be planted in the transition plots. Photo Credit: Seth Bigelow, Jones Center
Turkey oak seedlings waiting to be planted in the transition plots. Photo Credit: Seth Bigelow, Jones Center

 

Highlights from Spring 2019 

The Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center ASCC site has begun implementing prescribed fire treatments in the ASCC plots this spring to begin monitoring fuelbed continuity and prescribed burning effectiveness. This season’s fire assessments are based around individual hardwoods to help inform the spatial extent of hardwood impacts on fire energy release within the ASCC treatment plots. Andy Whelan, Research Associate II at the Jones Center, is leading this effort, along with Dr. Seth Bigelow, Forest Ecologist at the Jones Center and the ASCC Site Lead. Two years from now, when the ASCC treatment effects have developed further (especially in resistance plots), the Jones Center staff will do ecosystem-level fire assessments. Preliminary results suggest that on wetter days, such as April 23, 2019 in Ichauway, GA, the prescribed fires are burning better in the ASCC transition plots than in the other ASCC treatment plots due to better-developed ground cover and better ventilation from a sparser canopy. 

Prescribed fire in the ASCC Transition plot at The Jones Center; Photo Credit: Seth Bigelow, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway
Prescribed fire in an ASCC transition plot at The Jones Center; Photo Credit: Seth Bigelow, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway
Slow fire in the ASCC control plots at the Jones Center; Photo Credit: Seth Bigelow, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway
Slower burning fire in an ASCC control plot at the Jones Center; Photo Credit: Seth Bigelow, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway