Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
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Field 3-409


This small 14.2-acre (5.8 ha) relatively disturbed, rectangularly-shaped Set-Aside is comprised of a section of an abandoned field (agricultural field numbered 3-409 in 1951) and a strip of mixed pines bordering Road 2.The section of Field 3-409 contained within this Set-Aside has undergone plant community succession from an herbaceous old-field in 1951 to a present day pine forest habitat. The Field 3-409 Set-Aside represents an abandoned, old-field community that has undergone natural succession for 46 years and presently is a mixed pine, open forest. A remnant old-field portion remains, with annual needle grass (Aristida tuberculosa) in the understory. Because this site is on a different soil type than Field 3-412 (Area #1), it provides an important comparison for long-term studies of community successional processes. Although this particular field once was dominated primarily by herbaceous vegetation, today it primarily is a natural pine forest. Prior to this Area being established as a Set-Aside, it inadvertently was subjected to a prescribed burn, with fire breaks plowed through the Area. Another disturbance was an experimental manipulation where there was an isolated, small-scale removal of volunteer slash pine saplings (Pinus elliottii) in an attempt to maintain a segment of the original old-field conditions. Nonetheless, this Set-Aside was included in the Set-Aside Program because of its associated historical research and because it serves as a replicate to the old-field studies conducted in Fields 9-111 and 3-412.

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