Poster presented at the 2023 SWOSU Research and Scholarly Activity fair.
Prescribed burns are integral management tools that can maintain grassland ecosystems over time. They can make grass cover more abundant and introduce a mix of different covers by releasing nutrients, removing overstory, and stimulating grazing activity. During the last 150 years, fire suppression and overgrazing have favored the encroachment of woody species into native grasslands. Prescribed fire, along with grazing and browsing, are being used in a practice known as Pyric Herbivory to produce grazing forage more cost-effectively for livestock while promoting native grassland assemblages and suitable habitat structure for wildlife communities. Our primary hypothesis was that ground cover following prescribed fire will show different responses at plots that burned versus unburned plots. Plots that were burned in the prescribed fire had less duff, more bare ground, more litter, and slightly more grass cover. Moreover, sampling points on burned plots were less likely to be under a tree pre-fire and post-fire understory vegetation on burned plots was of taller average height.
SWOSU Research, Research fair, Natural resource management, Burn ecology, Forestry