Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Forest Resource Management

Committee Chair

Eric Heitzman


Oaks (Quercus spp.) are considered a fire adapted species and fire disturbances throughout the lifecycle have been proposed to be necessary for maintaining oak dominated stands. Wildfire has been blamed for significant losses in sawtimber volume. A total of 164 points were sampled in stands that had experienced between zero to six wildfires over 36 years in Cabwaylingo State Forest (CSF), West Virginia. The wildfires have affected different strata and species of forest vegetation in different ways. While total overstory density decreased from 242 to 38 TPA with increasing fire frequency, oak density was highest in areas of three fires. Although overall basal area decreased from 171 to 52 ft2/ac, oak basal area remained fairly constant at around 60 ft2/ac. Oaks in smaller (< 8 inches) DBH classes were most abundant in areas of two to four wildfires. Total density of sapling sized stems increased with heightened fire occurrence. Oak saplings were significantly highest in density in areas of four fires. Neither oak nor non-oak seedling densities showed significantly differences by fire occurrences. Aggregate oak seedling height, however, was highest in areas that had burned four times. A regeneration assessment method by Steiner et al. (2008) revealed that expected oak stocking 30 years after complete harvest would be 73% in areas of three burns, decreasing with lower or higher fire occurrences. Our results indicate that oak advance reproduction is most competitive over non-oak species in those areas of CSF that have experienced two to four wildfires. Sawtimber volume loss due to cull increased from 181 to 752 Bdft/ac in areas experiencing from zero to six fire occurrences. Total net volume and net dollar value declined with increasing fire frequency ranging from 10,924 to 4,906 Bdft/ac and {dollar}1,208 to 589/ac, respectively; this is equal to a value decline of nearly 54%.