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Prescribed Burning on the Penobscot Experimental Forest

Researchers at the Penobscot Experimental Forest (PEF) are testing out forest management options.

Through this tour’s time-lapse imagery see how dead woody material on the ground and forest plant communities both change following a harvest and prescribed burn. You will be able to see the changes that take place before, during, and after a prescribed burn. This guided tour will share some results from a scientific study which includes multiple collaborators, research sites set up in the 1960s, and creative forest management options.

This study showed that stand structure differed more from site conditions than from management. Long-term site productivity was maintained over varying treatments. Climate change is changing the growing conditions for northern mixedwood forests in central Maine. While current trends for the region show increases in rain, timing of that rain matters. More rain is happening in winter months and during extreme events. Projected patterns for drought in the northeastern US are less clear. If periods of drought expand, managing forests to reduce fire risk becomes increasingly important. Research helps land managers understand outcomes from management methods. With a shifting climate, managing forest outcomes with more certainty is important.

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Produced in collaboration with:

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Available resources from this tour:


Bradley, ME

Project Status

Dec 30 2021


USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Maine Forest Service, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts