Fire Ecology Research
Disturbance has been investigated as an important factor in a continuing effort to understand successional change and lack of Quercus reproduction in the oak-hickory forest. Several studies have examined the succession of mixed Quercus forests to Acer saccharum Marsh. and other mesophytic species in the central hardwood forest of eastern North America. A study from Land Between The Lakes estimated that 50% of the area will eventually support forest dominated by mesophytes. The result of this process has both economical and ecological importance. Oak wood has high economic value, and eventual loss of oak-hickory forest will have an effect on supply and demand. In addition, a decrease in the variety of communities following succession could potentially decrease the biodiversity of Land Between The Lakes.

Disturbance has been specifically proposed to maintain Quercus dominance. Implementing management techniques, such as cutting and fire, has been suggested to attain maximum biodiversity in natural systems and sustainable use of public lands. The disturbance directly affects the structural and compositional variation, and indirectly affects the system?s response to fluctuations. Prescribed burning, for example, has been shown to effectively alter succession in various communities, but its efficacy in eastern deciduous forests of North America is relatively unknown. The effects of various management practices on forest community composition, structure and function are important for understanding ecosystem biodiversity and sustainability. In addition, the National Research Council reported a lack of knowledge on long-term changes in forest composition, structure, and function.

The objectives of the research include: 1) determine effects of prescribed burning, herbicide application, and thinning on forest community composition and structure, 2) quantify differences in oak reproduction between prescribed burning, herbicide, and thinning treatments, 3) document differences in the suppression of mesophytes between prescribed burning, herbicide, and thinning treatments, and 4) identify the effects of prescribed burning on soil nutrient levels in the A horizon. We also examined the spatila behavior of fire on these small prescribed burns.

Prescribed burning in upland oak forests at Land Between The Lakes.  
  Mirjami Tolonen and I worked on the forest dynamics of a small lake in southern Finland. She had developed a 6000 year pollen record from this site. We were interested in nonequilibrium dynamics and fire ecology.
The most recent work involces understandinf effects of fire on riparian communities at Land Between The Lakes.
Back To Research

Publications from this research:

Franklin, Scott B., Philip A. Robertson & James S. Fralish. 2003. Effect of fire, thinning, and herbicide treatments on upland Quercus stand composition, structure, and soil nutrients. Forest Ecology & Management 184: 315-335. PDF

Franklin, Scott B. & Mirjami Tolonen. 2000. Temporally-explicit models of vegetation dynamics of Lake Ahvenainen, southern Finland. Plant Ecology 146:145-68. PDF

Campbell, Jonathan C., Scott B. Franklin, David J. Gibson & Jonathan Newman. 1998. Permutation of two-term local quadrat variance analysis: general concepts for interpretation of peaks. Journal of Vegetation Science 9:41-44. PDF

Franklin, Scott B., Philip A. Robertson & James S. Fralish. 1996. Small-scale fire temperature patterns in upland Quercus communities. Journal of Applied Ecology 34:613-630. PDF

My Dissertation: Effects of fire on Quercus communities of Land Between The Lakes, KY and TN.