Individual study: Effects of fire frequency and bison Bison bison grazing on tallgrass prairie floristic diversity, Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, Kansas, USA
Hartnett D.C., Hickman K.R. & Fischer Walter L.E. (1996) Effects of bison grazing, fire, and topography on floristic diversity in tallgrass prairie. Journal of Range Management, 49, 413-420
In North American prairies, periodic wildfires and ungulate grazers have had a major influence in shaping plant community composition and structure. In this study, sites subjected to different prescribed fire regimes were studied on the Konza Prairie Research Natural Area (39º05’N, 96º35’W) in Kansas (central USA) after 4 years of bison grazing or grazing exclosure (1987-1991).
Vegetation was dominated by warm-season perennial grasses (i.e. big bluestem Andropogon gerardii, indiangrass Sorghastrrum nutuns, little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium and switchgrass Panicum virgatum), with numerous subdominant grasses and forbs.
Cover and frequency of cool-season grasses (e.g. Poa pratensis, Agropyron smithii), sedges Carex spp. and some forbs (e.g. snow flurry Aster ericoides and yellow woodsorell Oxalis stricta) were consistently higher in bison-grazed prairie compared to exclosures. The four dominant warm-season grasses and other forbs (e.g. Missouri goldenrod Solidago missouriensis) decreased under grazing.