Juniper Stand Structure of Burned vs. Unburned Plots Following a Prescribed Fire Near Crowder Lake, OK
Poster presented at the 2023 SWOSU Research and Scholarly Activity fair.
Pictured here are students and members of the Prairie Project, Lindsey Wells and Chris Hurt. Prescribed burning is a management tool used in Pyric Herbivory that can assist maintenance of native grassland communities by bringing nutrients to the topsoil, removing shade competitors of grasses, and providing stimulus for restorative growth. One of the primary woody invaders affecting our regional native grassland systems is the Eastern Red Cedar. In this project we evaluated plots both pre- and post-fire to better understand the ways in which tree stand structure affects prescribed fire success in killing junipers that are invading into surrounding grasslands. Our hypothesis was that tree stand attributes will affect whether a prescribed fire kills or leaves trees alive. Primary differences between our post-fire burned and unburned plots were that burned plots tended to have 1) more trees of older age and larger sizes, 2) trees with wider spacing intervals, and 3) trees of smaller diameter and higher lowest-branch heights. Taken together, these data suggest that prescribed fires with higher juniper mortality rates are more likely to occur in stands where critical space is allowed for air movement during a fire.
SWOSU Research, Research fair, Natural resource management, Burn ecology, Forestry