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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Winter burning and the reduction of Cornus sericea in sedge meadows in southern Wisconsin

Published source details

Middleton B. (2002) Winter burning and the reduction of Cornus sericea in sedge meadows in southern Wisconsin. Restoration Ecology, 10, 723-730


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance Peatland Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1998–2000 in a degraded, shrubby sedge meadow in Wisconsin, USA (Middleton 2002) found that burned plots contained more plant species than unburned plots, and had greater sedge/rush cover, but lower tree/shrub and forb cover and similar grass cover. The cover results were not tested for statistical significance. Over two subsequent years, species richness was higher in burned plots (7.1 species/0.2 m2) than unburned plots (6.5 species/0.2 m2). Burned plots also had greater cover of sedges/rushes (burned: 15–39%; unburned: 10–28%), but lower tree/shrub cover (burned: 0–11%; unburned: 6–12%) and lower forb cover (burned: 11–28%; unburned: 18–35%). Grass cover was similar in burned (1–12%) and unburned plots (0–9%). The cover results were not tested for statistical significance. Fifty-six 20 x 20 m plots were established in a degraded sedge meadow (historically burned and, in parts, grazed). Sedge meadows are sedge-dominated peatlands, fed by ground water. In December 1998, 33 plots were burned whilst 23 were not. In August 1999 and 2000 cover and height of every species were recorded, in one 0.2 m2 quadrat/plot.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)