Cape Cod--Plots Burned in the Growning Season

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The columns of photos below depict two different, 0.1-acre plots from the Lombard-Paradise Research Site. The column on the left shows a "Burn Summer 1" plot--a plot that is burned every growing season. The column on the right shows a "Burn Summer 4" plot--a plot that is burned every fourth growing season. As you scroll down the columns, the pictures become progressively more recent; the oldest photos are at the top of the page, and the newest photos are at the bottom.

Photo of a control plot. This photo is a reference for gauging the effects of the treatments, shown below.

Burn Summer 1 Plot (burned every summer)

date

Burn Summer 4 Plot (burned every 4th summer)

1986

Burn Summer 1 plot in August 1986, after one burn.   Burn Summer 4 plot in August 1986, after one burn.
1987
Burn Summer 1 plot in July 1987, after two burns.   Burn Summer 4 plot in July 1987, after one burn.
1990
Burn Summer 1 plot on July 18, 1990, after four burns.   Burn Summer 4 plot on July 18, 1990, after one burn.

1990

Burn Summer 1 plot on July 20, 1990, after five burns.   Burn Summer 4 plot on July 20, 1990, after two burns.
1991
Burn Summer 1 plot in June 1991, after five burns.   Burn Summer 4 plot in June 1991, after two burns.
1997
Burn Summer 1 plot in August 1997, after twelve burns.   Burn Summer 4 plot in August 1997, after three burns

2002

Burn Summer 1 plot in July 2002, after sixteen burns.   Burn Summer 4 plot in July 2002, after four burns.

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The above photo series illustrates the difference in fuel loads resulting from burning every summer verses burning every fourth summer. For a more quantitative perspective, see below for a graph of the weight of the litter load for the two plots over time.

The weight of the total litter load (including 1, 10, and 100hr woody fuels, as well as 1-hr non-woody fuels) is more than three times greater in the Burn Summer 4 plot than in the Burn Summer 1 plot. The fuel weight of the control plots (an average of 5 controls for each year) was slightly greater than the Burn Summer 4 plot and far greater than the Burn Summer 1 plot at the last sampling date, in 1998.

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