Long-term effects of prescribed fire on Cladium jamaicense crantz and Typha domingensis pers. densities

  • Published source details Ponzio K.J., Miller S.J & Lee M.A. (2004) Long-term effects of prescribed fire on Cladium jamaicense crantz and Typha domingensis pers. densities. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 12, 123-133.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance: freshwater marshes

    A controlled, before-and-after study in 1994–1998 in a freshwater marsh in Florida, USA (Ponzio et al. 2004) reported that prescribed burning increased plant species richness and temporarily increased the density of one of two dominant species, but had no clear effect on the frequency of these two species. Unless specified, statistical significance was not assessed. Burned plots contained 6–9 plant species before burning, then 8–11 species over the four years after burning. Burning significantly but temporarily increased the density of southern cattail Typha domingensis (before: 2–3 stems/m2; after one to two years: 4–6 stems/m2; after three to four years: 2 stems/m2). Sawgrass Cladium jamaicense density was statistically similar before and after burning in seven of eight comparisons (for which before: 6–13 stems/m2; after: 6–15 stems/m2). Burning had no clear effect the frequency of southern cattail (before: in 93–100% of quadrats; after: 83–100%) or sawgrass (before: in 87–100% of quadrats; after: 80–100%). The frequency of eight other common plant species showed mixed responses to burning (see original paper). In unburned plots, metrics were generally stable (before they were affected by wildfire): 9 species/plot, 1–2 cattail stems/m2, 10–13 sawgrass stems/m2, cattail in 73–80% quadrats and sawgrass in 97–100% of quadrats. Methods: In June 1994, a 265-ha area of marsh was deliberately burned. Lighting fires are a common natural disturbance in similar marshes, but the study marsh had not burned for ≥5 years. The marsh was flooded when burned and for most of the time after burning. Vegetation was surveyed before burning (1994) and for up to four years after (burned: 1995–1998; unburned: 1995–1996), in two plots within the burned area and one adjacent unburned plot (thirty 2-m2 quadrats/plot).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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