Some Effects on Annual Burning on Central Missouri Prairie

Author: Kucera, C.L.; Ehrenreich, J.H.

Description: Fire has long been mentioned as an ecological factor in the natural grassland of the Middle West. Numerous reports may be cited from the early frontier chronicles. Some of these merely speculated about the role of fire in the grassland environment. Studies attempting more exact relationships have been conducted in recent years. A significant question in the fire-grass relationship deals with the effects of burning on litter accumulation and nutrient circulation in the ecosystem. Results of studies conducted in different regions of the grassland are variable. Dix (1960) reported that production was less in burned plots than in controls in grasslands of western North Dakota. Differences were greatest in the first season after fire and tended to diminish in later years. This was true regarding mulch accumulation also, suggesting that equilibrium is restored after a certain number of years under these conditions. Similar results were shown in studies from South Dakota by Larson and Whitman (1942). These findings contrast with results of growth studies in Wisconsin by Curtis and Partch (1950) and in Iowa by Ehrenreich and Aikman (1957) who found greater yields and stimulated flower stalk production after burning the native prairie. This is a preliminary report of long term studies on Missouri prairie pertaining to interaction of fire, productivity, and nutrient circulation.

Subject headings: Grassland fires, Prairie, Grasses, Fire ecology, Plant ecology, Wildfire seasons, Ashes, Mulches, Forest ecology, Tillage; Burning

Publication year: 1962

Journal or book title: Ecology

Volume: 43

Issue: 2

Pages: 334-336

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 1871