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Regeneration Dynamics and Understory Plant Community Response in Northeast Pitch Pine Barrens Under a Range of Restoration Scenarios

Presenter: Kathleen Stutzman (University of Vermont)

April 11, 2024 - For northeastern pitch pine barrens, fire suppression and the range expansion of Southern Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis) present substantial and imminent challenges to the restoration and maintenance of these rare, endemic communities. This study examines and evaluates the response of tree regeneration to a range of different restoration scenarios in pitch pine barrens across Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York. Restoration scenarios examined included thinning, spring prescribed fire, fall prescribed fire, and mowing followed by prescribed fire with monitoring also occurring in untreated areas. The diversity and abundance of understory plants was also measured to investigate their relationship with management activities. The overall goal of this research is to formulate region-wide best management practices to restore and maintain pitch pine barrens and to inform cultural and ecological objectives.


Kathleen Stutzman Kathleen is a graduate research assistant in the Rubenstein School of the Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in forestry from the University of Vermont, Kathleen worked for 8 years as a consulting forester in central Vermont. Her research interests include climate adaptation, community ecology, and applied silviculture.


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