Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Prescribed Extreme Fire Effects on Richness and Invasion in Coastal Prairie

  • Dirac Twidwell (a1), William E. Rogers (a1), Elizabeth A. McMahon (a1), Bryce R. Thomas (a1), Urs P. Kreuter (a1) and Terry L. Blankenship (a2)...

Abstract

Widely-held, untested assumptions in many prairies are that high-intensity fires conducted during droughts will decrease native herbaceous species richness and lead to rapid invasions by alien species. We compared native and exotic herbaceous species richness and aboveground herbaceous biomass one year following the application of high-intensity growing-season fires in Texas coastal prairie. Fires were conducted in June 2008, when precipitation was 96% below the long-term monthly average, at the end of a severe 5-mo drought, resulting in high fire intensities within treatment units. Native forb species richness was greater in burned than unburned areas. In contrast, species richness of native grasses, exotic forbs, and the frequency of King Ranch (KR) bluestem [Bothriochloa ischaemum (L.) Keng.] did not significantly differ between burned and unburned treatments. The potential to use prescribed extreme fire to maintain native herbaceous species richness while not increasing KR bluestem provides preliminary evidence that growing season fires conducted during droughts can be a viable management strategy in coastal prairies.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Current address of first author: Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078. Corresponding author's E-mail: dirac.twidwell@okstate.edu

References

Hide All
Abrams, M. D. and Hulbert, L. C. 1987. Effect of topographic position and fire on species in tallgrass prairie in northeast Kansas. Am. Midl. Nat. 117:442445.
Albini, F. A. 1979. Spot Fire Distance from Burning Trees: A Predictive Model. USDA Forest Service Research Paper INT-56. 73 p.
Albini, F. A. 1981. Spot Fire Distance from Isolated Sources. Extensions of a Predictive Model. USDA Forest Service Research Note INT-309. 10 p.
Allain, L. and Grace, J. B. 2001. Changes in density and height of the shrub Baccharis halimifolia following burning in coastal tallgrass prairie. Proc. North Am. Prairie Conf. 17:6672.
Biondini, M. E., Steuter, A. A., and Gryciel, C. E. 1989. Seasonal fire effects on the diversity patterns, spatial distribution, and community structure of forbs in the Northern Mixed Prairie. Vegetatio. 85:2131.
Bond, W. J. 2008. What limits trees in C4 grasslands and savannas? Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 39:641659.
Box, T. W. 1961. Relationships between plants and soil of four range plant communities in south Texas. Ecology. 42:794810.
Bruce, K. A., Cameron, G. N., and Harcombe, P. A. 1995. Initiation of a new woodland type on the Texas Coastal Prairie by the Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum (L.) Roxb.) Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 122:215225.
Butler, D. W. and Fairfax, R. J. 2003. Buffel grass and fire in a Gidgee and Brigalow woodland; a case study from central Queensland. Ecol. Manag. Restor. 4:120125.
Chamrad, A. D. and Box, T. W. 1968. Food habits of white-tailed deer in south Texas. J. Range Manag. 21:158164.
Cheney, P. and Sullivan, A. 1997. Grassfires: Fuel, Weather and Fire Behaviour. Collingwood, Australia CSIRO Publishing. 160 p.
Clarke, P. J., Latz, P. K., and Albrecht, D. E. 2005. Long-term changes in semi-arid vegetation: invasion of an exotic perennial grass has larger effects than rainfall variability. J. Veg. Sci. 16:237248.
Copeland, T. E., Sluis, W., and Howe, H. F. 2002. Fire season and dominance in an Illinois tallgrass prairie restoration. Restor. Ecol. 10:315323.
D'Antonio, C. M. and Vitousek, P. M. 1992. Biological invasions by exotic grasses, the grass/fire cycle and global change. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 23:6387.
Diamond, D. D. and Smeins, F. E. 1988. Gradient analysis of remnant true and upper coastal prairie grasslands of North America. Can. J. Botany. 66:21522161.
DiTomaso, J. M. 2000. Invasive weeds in rangelands: species, impacts, and management. Weed Sci. 48:255265.
DiTomaso, J. M., Kyser, G. B., and Hastings, M. S. 1999. Prescribed burning for control of yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) and enhanced native plant diversity. Weed Sci. 47:233242.
Dow Agrosciences, Range and Pasture. http://www.dowagro.com/range/products/treatments/low.htm. Accessed: December 6, 2010.
Fairfax, R. J. and Fensham, R. J. 2000. The effect of exotic pasture development on floristic diversity in central Queensland, Australia. Biol. Conserv. 94:1121.
Franklin, K. A., Lyons, K., Nagler, P. L., Lampkin, D., Glenn, E. P., Molina-Freaner, F., Markow, T., and Huete, A. R. 2006. Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) land conversion and productivity in the plains of Sonora, Mexico. Biol. Conserv. 127:6271.
Gabbard, B. L. and Fowler, N. L. 2006. Wide ecological amplitude of a diversity-reducing invasive grass. Biol. Invasions. 9:149160.
Gibson, D. J. and Hulbert, L. C. 1987. Effects of fire, topography and year-to-year climatic variation on species composition in tallgrass prairie. Vegetatio. 72:175185.
Gould, F. W. 1975. The Grasses of Texas. College Station, TX Texas A&M University Press. 654 p.
Grace, J. B. 1998. Can prescribed fire save the endangered coastal prairie ecosystem from Chinese tallow invasion? Endangered Species UPDATE. 15:7076.
Grace, J. B., Allain, L., and Allen, C. 2000. Factors associated with plant species richness in a coastal tallgrass prairie. J. Veg. Sci. 11:443452.
Grace, J. B., Owens, A., and Allain, L. 2005. Fireloggers User's Manual. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005–1212. 24 p.
Grace, J. B., Smith, M. D., Grace, S. L., Collins, S. L., and Stohlgren, T. J. 2001. Interactions between fire and invasive plants in temperate grasslands of North America. Pages 4065 in Galley, K. E. M., and Wilson, T. P., eds. Proceedings of the Invasive Species Workshop: The Role of Fire in the Control and Spread of Invasive Species. Misc. Publ. 11. Tallahassee, FL Tall Timbers Research Station.
Grossman, D. H., Goodin, K. L., and Reuss, C. L. 1994. Rare Plant Communities of the Conterminous United States. Arlington, VA The Nature Conservancy. 620 p.
Hansmire, J. A., Drawe, D. L., Wester, D. B., and Britton, C. M. 1988. Effects of winter burns on forbs and grasses of the Texas coastal prairie. Southwest. Nat. 33:333338.
Harnis, R. O. and Murray, R. B. 1973. 30 years of vegetal change following burning of sagebrush-grass range. J. Range Manag. 26:322325.
Hartley, M. K., Rogers, W. E., Siemann, E., and Grace, J. 2007. Responses of prairie arthropod communities to fire and fertilizer: balancing plant and arthropod conservation. Am. Midl. Nat. 157:92105.
Hickman, K. R., Farley, G. H., Channell, R., and Steier, J. E. 2006. Effects of old world bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) on food availability and avian community composition within the mixed-grass prairie. Southwest. Nat. 51:524530.
Hobbs, R. J. and Huenneke, L. F. 1992. Disturbance, diversity and invasion: implications for conservation. Conserv. Biol. 6:324337.
Howe, H. F. 1994. Managing species diversity in tallgrass prairie: assumptions and implications. Conserv. Biol. 8:691704.
Janecka, J. E., Blankenship, T. L., Hirth, D. H., Kilpatrick, C. W., Tewes, M. E., and Grassman, L. I. Jr. 2007. Evidence of male-biased dispersal in bobcats Lynx rufus using relatedness analysis. Wildl. Biol. 13:3847.
Johnson, S. D., Horn, K. C., Savage, A. M., Windhager, S., Simmons, M. T., and Rudgers, J. A. 2008. Timing of prescribed burns affects abundance and composition of arthropods in the Texas hill country. Southwest. Nat. 53:137145.
Keeley, J. E. 2001. Fire and invasive species in Mediterranean-climate ecosystems of California. Pages 8194 in Galley, K. E. M., and Wilson, T. P., eds. Proceedings of the Invasive Species Workshop: The Role of Fire in the Control and Spread of Invasive Species. Misc. Publ. 11. Tallahassee, FL Tall Timbers Research Station.
Keeley, J. E. 2006. Fire management impacts on invasive plants in the western United States. Conserv. Biol. 20:375384.
Kennard, D. K., O'Brien, J. J., and Outcalt, K. 2005. Comparing techniques for estimating fire temperature and intensity. Fire Ecol. 1:7084.
Knapp, P. A. 1996. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) dominance in the Great Basin Desert. Global Environ. Change. 6:3752.
Kreuter, U. P., Amestoy, H. E., Ueckert, D. N., and McGinty, W. A. 2001. Adoption of brush busters: results of Texas county extension survey. J. Range Manag. 54:630639.
Kyser, G. B. and DiTomaso, J. M. 2002. Instability in a grassland community after the control of yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) with prescribed burning. Weed Sci. 50:648657.
Leach, M. K. and Givnish, T. J. 1996. Ecological determinant of species loss in remnant prairies. Science. 273:15551558.
Lehman, V. M. 1984. Bobwhites in the Rio Grande Plain of Texas. College Station, TX Texas A&M University Press. 544 p.
Luke, R. H. and McArthur, A. G. 1978. Bushfires in Australia. Canberra, Australia Australian Government Publishing Service. 359 p.
Mack, R. N. 1981. Invasion of Bromus tectorum L. into western North America: an ecological chronicle. Agro-Ecosystems. 7:145165.
Mack, R. N., Simberloff, D., Lonsdale, W. M., Evans, H., Clout, M., and Bazzaz, F. A. 2000. Biotic invasions: causes, epidemiology, global consequences, and control. Ecol. Appl. 10:689710.
Martin, M., Cox, J., Ibarra, F., Alston, D., Banner, R., and Malecheck, J. 1999. Spittlebug and buffelgrass responses to summer fires in Mexico. J. Range Manag. 52:621625.
Mayeux, H. S. Jr., and Hamilton, W. T. 1983. Response of common goldenweed (Isocoma coronopifolia) and buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris) to fire and soil. Weed Sci. 31:355360.
McCune, B. and Grace, J. B. 2002. Analysis of Ecological Communities. Gleneden Beach, OR MjM Software Design. 300 p.
McCune, B. and Mefford, M. J. 1999. PC-ORD: Multivariate Analysis of Ecological Data. Ver. 4.41. Medford, OR MjM Software Design. 6 p.
McGinty, A. and Ueckert, D. N. 1997. Brush Busters: How to Beat Mesquite. College Station, TX Texas Agricultural Extension Service & Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. Leaflet L-5144. 2 p.
McGinty, A., Cadenhead, J. F., Hamilton, W., Hanselka, W. C., Ueckert, D. N., and Whisenant, S. G. 2000. Chemical Weed and Brush Control Suggestions for Rangeland. College Station, TX Texas Agricultural Extension Service Bulletin B-1466. 27 p.
McHenry, W. B. and Murphy, A. H. 1985. Weed management of California rangeland. Pages 413423 in Kurtz, E. A., and Colbert, F. O., eds. Principles of Weed Control in California. Fresno, CA Thomson Publishing.
Mooney, H. A., Mack, R. N., McNeely, J. A., Neville, L. E., Schei, P. J., and Waage, J. K. 2005. Invasive Alien Species: A New Synthesis. Washington, DC Island Press. 368 p.
Omega, Inc, OMEGALAQ® Liquid Temperature Lacquers. 2011. http://www.omega.com/pptst/LAQ.html. Accessed: November 14, 2011.
Owens, A. B., Proffitt, C. E., and Grace, J. B. 2007. Prescribed fire and cutting as tools for reducing woody plant succession in a created salt marsh. Wetland Ecol. Manag. 15:405416.
Pase, C. P. 1971. Effects of a February burn on Lehmann lovegrass. J. Range Manag. 24:454456.
Pavlovic, N. B., Leicht-Young, S. A., and Grundel, R. 2011. Short-term effects of burn season on flowering phenology of savanna plants. Plant Ecol. 212:611625.
Pickett, S. T. A. 1982. Population patterns through twenty years of old field succession. Vegetatio. 49:4559.
Pimentel, D., Zuniga, R., and Morrison, D. 2005. Update on the environmental and economic costs associated with alien-invasive species in the United States. Ecol. Econ. 52:273288.
Rossiter, N. A., Setterfield, S. A., Douglas, M. M., and Hutley, L. B. 2003. Testing the grass-fire cycle: alien grass invasion in the tropical savannas of northern Australia. Divers. Distrib. 9:169176.
Rothermel, R. C. and Deeming, J. E. 1980. Measuring and interpreting fire behavior for correlation with fire effects. Washington, DC US Dept of Agriculture, Forest Service, General Technical Report INT-93. 3 p.
Ruckman, E. M., Schwinning, S., and Lyons, K. G. 2011. Effects of phenology at burn time on post-fire recovery of an invasive C4 grass. Restor. Ecol. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2011.00830.x.
Sands, J. P., Brennan, L. A., Hernández, F., Kuvlesky, W. P., Gallagher, J. F., Ruthven, D. C., and Pittman, J. E. 2009. Impacts of buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) on a forb community in South Texas. Invasive Plant. Sci. Manag. 2:130140.
Scifres, C. J., Mutz, J. L., Whitson, R. E., and Drawe, D. L. 1982. Interrelationships of huisache canopy cover with range forage on the coastal prairie. J. Range Manag. 35:558562.
Scifres, C. J., Oldham, T. W., Teel, P. D., and Drawe, D. L. 1988. Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum) populations and responses to burning of coastal prairie habitats. Southwest. Nat. 33:5564.
Shay, J., Kunec, D., and Dyck, B. 2001. Short-term effects of fire frequency on vegetation composition and biomass in mixed prairie in south-western Manitoba. Plant Ecol. 155:157167.
Simmons, M. T., Windhager, S., Power, P., Lott, J., Lyons, R. K., and Schwope, C. 2007. Selective and non-selective control of invasive plants: the short-term effects of growing-season prescribed fire, herbicide and mowing in two Texas prairies. Restor. Ecol. 15:662669.
Sluis, W. J. 2002. Patterns of species richness and composition in a re-created grassland. Restor. Ecol. 10:677684.
Smeins, F. E., Diamond, D. D., and Hanselka, C. W. 1991. Coastal prairie. Pages 269290 in Coupland, R. T., ed. Natural Grasslands: Introduction and Western Hemisphere. Ecosystems of the World. Vol. 8A. Amsterdam, The Netherlands Elsevier.
Stevens, J. and Falk, D. A. 2009. Can buffelgrass invasions be controlled in the American southwest? Using invasion ecology theory to understand buffelgrass success and develop comprehensive restoration and management. Ecol. Restor. 27:417427.
Suding, K. N. and Gross, K. L. 2006. Modifying native and exotic species richness correlations: the influence of fire and seed addition. Ecol. Appl. 16:13191326.
Taylor, C. A. Jr., Twidwell, D., Garza, N. E., Rosser, C., Hoffman, J. K., and Brooks, T. D. 2012. Long-term effects of fire, livestock herbivory removal, and weather variability in Texas semiarid savanna. Rangeland Ecol. Manag. 65:2130.
Tilman, D. 1993. Species richness of experimental productivity gradients: how important is colonization limitation? Ecology. 74:21792191.
Towne, E. G. and Kemp, K. E. 2008. Long-term response patterns of tallgrass prairie to frequent summer burning. Rangeland Ecol. Manag. 61:509520.
Twidwell, D. 2012. From Theory to Application: Extreme Fire, Resilience, Restoration, and Education in Social-Ecological Disciplines. Ph.D dissertation. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University.
Twidwell, D., Fuhlendorf, S. D., Engle, D. M., and Taylor, C. A. Jr. 2009. Surface fuel sampling strategies: linking fuel measurements and fire effects. Rangeland Ecol. Manag. 62:223229.
USDA, NRCS. The PLANTS Database. National Data Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 2011. http://plants.usda.gov. Accessed: May 2011.
Van Auken, O. W. 2000. Shrub invasions of North American semiarid grasslands. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 31:197215.
Wittich, K. P. 2011. Phenological observations of grass curing in Germany. Int. J. Biometerol. 55:313318.
Wright, H. A. 1974. Range burning. J. Range Manag. 27:511.

Keywords

Prescribed Extreme Fire Effects on Richness and Invasion in Coastal Prairie

  • Dirac Twidwell (a1), William E. Rogers (a1), Elizabeth A. McMahon (a1), Bryce R. Thomas (a1), Urs P. Kreuter (a1) and Terry L. Blankenship (a2)...

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed