Date of Award

Spring 1978

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Frank P. Day, Jr.

Committee Member

Lytton J. Musselman

Committee Member

Gerald F. Levy

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 M349


The herbaceous layer of an Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) stand in the Great Dismal Swamp was sampled to estimate the productivity of two burned areas and a control area. The herbaceous vegetation was sampled along three transects utilizing the harvest method and productivity values were estimated using peak biomass values for each individual species. The burned-cut area had the highest productivity (3623 kg ha-l yr-1) and was characterized by species of the Asteraceae, Poaceae, and Cyperaceae. The burned-uncut area had a productivity value of 1636 kg ha-1 yr-1 with similar species of the Asteraceae but lacked the grasses and sedges. The control area exhibited the lowest productivity (356 kg ha-l yr-1) and had few herbaceous species. The fire opened the overstory resulting in higher productivities in the two burned areas. Peak biomass was recorded in late summer. Fire can be used as a management tool to increase herbaceous production and to encourage cedar regeneration.


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