Soil quality response of reestablished grasslands to mowing and burning.

Schacht, W.H.
Stubbendieck, J.
Bragg, T.B.
Smart, A.J.
Doran, J.W.
Rangeland Ecology & Management / Journal of Range Management Archives
Publication Year: 
Prescribed burning and mowing are management practices commonly used on grasslands even though there is limited knowledge of long-term effects on soil quality. The influences of mowing and burning on soil quality were determined on 2 reestablished tallgrass sites in eastern Nebraska dominated by silty clay loam soils. Burn treatments included seasonal (i.e., October, May, or July) prescribed burning at either 1-year or 4-year intervals. Mow treatments included seasonal mowing at 4-year intervals. Both burn and mow treatments have been imposed at Site 1 since fall 1981. Only the burn treatments have been applied at Site 2 since fall 1979. Soil quality measurement were made at both sites in summer 1994. Season of application of the mow and burn treatments and season X treatment interactions were not significant. Infiltration rates at Site 1 for the mow and annual burn treatments were slower than for the control, whereas infiltration rate was comparable for the year burn treatments and the control. Unlike Site 1, the 1-year and 4-year burn treatments at Site 2 had similar infiltration rates, and the burn treatments had slower infiltration rates than the control. Generally, soil bulk density, pH, electrical conductivity, total nitrogen content, and organic matter content were similar for all treatments. Results demonstrate that repeated burning or mowing treatments can detrimentally impact infiltration rates on silty clay loam sites; however, soil properties other than those measured would need to be studied to explain infiltration response.
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
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Rangeland Ecology & Management (formerly the Journal of Range Management) serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of facts, ideas, and philosophies pertaining to the study, management, ecology, and use of rangelands and their resources. The journal is peer-reviewed and provides international exchange of scholarly research and information among persons interested in rangelands. The Global Rangelands collection includes REM content up to 5 years from the current year. More recent content is available by subscription from BioOne and the Society for Range Management, and may be available at your local university library.
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