Preliminary response of Sandhills prairie to fire and bison grazing.

Author: 
Pfeiffer, K.E.
Steuter, A.A.
Publisher: 
Rangeland Ecology & Management / Journal of Range Management Archives
Publication Year: 
1994
Description: 
This research determined the preliminary response of sandhills prairie to spring and summer prescribed burns, and their interaction with bison (Bison bison) grazing. Changes in species composition and standing crop were determined for paired (caged/uncaged) plots established in burned and unburned areas during the 1991 and 1992 growing seasons. End of season standing crop of both rhizomatous grasses and bunchgrasses was increased by spring burning on sands range sites. Summer burning did not affect rhizomatous grass standing crop, but dramatically reduced bunchgrass standing crop. On burned areas, bison grazing reduced bunchgrass standing crop by 56%, while reducing rhizomatous grass standing crop by only 18%. Forbs generally appeared unaffected by bison grazing and were affected variously by burning. The current bunchgrass composition of Nebraska Sandhills prairie appears dependent on fire exclusion. With fire, a replacement of bunchgrass with rhizomatous grasses may increase available forage, but also increase the risk of wind erosion, particularly on choppy sands range sites.
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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