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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Herbaceous succession after burning of cut western juniper trees

Published source details

Bates J.D. & Svejcar T.J. (2009) Herbaceous succession after burning of cut western juniper trees. Western North American Naturalist, 69, 9-25


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Use prescribed fire: effect on understory plants Forest Conservation

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1997-2006 in temperate coniferous forest in Oregon, USA (Bates & Svejcar 2004) found that winter burning of cut western juniper Juniperus occidentalis trees increased annual herbaceous plant cover. Cover of all herbaceous plants and cover of perennial grasses was higher in 1st-year burn (30% and 22% respectively) and 2nd-year burn plots (28% and 18%) than in unburned plots (18% and 8%). Cover of annual herbaceous species and of Sandberg’s bluegrass Poa secunda was higher in 1st-year burn (5% and 2% respectively) than in unburned plots (1% and 0%) and intermediate in 2nd-year burn plots (4% and 1%). Cover of cheatgrass Bromus tectorum was higher in unburned (10%) than in 1st-year and 2nd-year burn plots (2% in both), while cover of perennial forbs was similar (<1%) in all treatments. Three treatments (0.5 ha) were randomly assigned to each of five blocks in which all juniper trees were cut down in 1997. Treatments were: unburned, 1st-year and 2nd-year burned (cut trees burned the first and second winter after cutting respectively). In 2006 herbaceous cover was measured in four 0.2 m2 quadrats under each of ten cut trees in each treatment.