Earth & Environmental Science Journalism:

Science Research Project

The response of Pinus rigida to fires in the Pinelands of New Jersey.

John Romano


Fire is important to the ecology of the New Jersey Pinelands. Although fire has been extensively studied in the Pine Plains, there has been little work in other parts of the pinelands. In particular, there has not been an intense analysis of the tree-rings of pitch pine (Pinus rigida). To fill this data gap, cores and cross sections from Penn State Forest and Bass River State Forest were analyzed. It was found that fire suppresses the growth of Pinus rigida and that the suppression pattern can be used to determine when fires occurred. The orientation of fire scars on the trees did not characterize fire movement. Also, maximum temperature was found to be the major climatic factor influencing Pinus rigida growth in this area.

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Last updated: 7 May 2001, KAK.