A wildfire occurred in Shawnee State Forest located in southern Ohio that consumed 1215 hectares. Based on earlier forest inventories it was known that paulownia (Paulownia tomentosa
), a non-native invasive tree species, occurred in the forest. The objective of this study was to determine if paulownia heavily colonized areas two years after the fire where the burn occurred, and if its presence had a negative impact on the regeneration (<137 cm height) of native species—red and white oaks (Quercus
sp.), red maple (Acer rubrum
), and yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera
). Two years after the fire, paulownia had invaded the burned areas but not at significantly higher densities than occurred in the unburned areas. Fire significantly reduced the number of regenerating stems of white oak and red maple two years after the fire, whereas the number of regenerating stems of red oak increased slightly and that of yellow-poplar increased significantly. In areas where paulownia occurred that experienced wildfire, all species studied displayed a reduction in the number of regenerating stems compared to paulownia’s absence in the burn areas. Where paulownia occurred in areas not affected by the wildfire, all the native species studied displayed a reduction in the number of regenerating stems. The average heights of red oak, white oak, and red maple were significantly taller when growing in areas affected by the wildfire due to a more open canopy. However, there was no significant change in the average heights of yellow-poplar. The presence of paulownia in both the burned and unburned areas reduced the number of regenerating stems of the native species studied.
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