Understory vegetation response after 30 years of interval prescribed burning in two ponderosa pine sites in northern Arizona, USA

  • Published source details Scudieri C.A., Sieg C.H., Haase S.M., Thode A.E. & Sackett S.S. (2010) Understory vegetation response after 30 years of interval prescribed burning in two ponderosa pine sites in northern Arizona, USA. Forest ecology and management, 260, 2134-2142.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed fire: effect on understory plants

Action Link
Forest Conservation
  1. Use prescribed fire: effect on understory plants

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1976-2008 in temperate coniferous forest in Arizona, USA (Scudieri et al. 2010) found that frequent prescribed burning increased the cover of grasses and specifically wheatgrasses, but not of forbs and of total herbaceous plants. At one site, cover of grasses was higher with 1-year interval burns than in unburned plots (1-year: 8%; 2-, 4-, 6-, 8- and 10-years: 5-8%; unburned: 5%) and cover of wheatgrasses was higher with 1-, 2- and 4-year intervals than in unburned plots (1-, 2- and 4-years: 4-5%; 6-, 8- and 10-years: 2-3%; unburned: <1%). At that same site, cover did not differ between treatments for forbs (all burn intervals: 3-6%; unburned: 2%) or total herbaceous vegetation (all burn intervals: 9-12%; unburned: 5%). At a second site the cover of grasses (all burn intervals 3-7%; unburned: 3%), wheatgrasses (all burn intervals: <1%; unburned: 0%), forbs (all burn intervals: 1-3%; unburned: 2%) and total herbaceous cover (all burn intervals: 4-10%; unburned: 5%) were similar between treatments. Data were collected in 2007-2008 in three plots of each of 1-, 2-, 4-, 6-, 8- and 10-year intervals between prescribed fires and control (unburned >75 years) treatment plots (100 × 100 m) established in 1976-1977 in each of two sites.


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