Study

Effects of prescribed fire on moist-soil vegetation and soil macronutrients

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Change season/timing of prescribed burning: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Use prescribed fire to control problematic plants: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Change season/timing of prescribed burning: freshwater marshes

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1992 in an ephemeral freshwater marsh in Missouri, USA (Laubhan 1995) found that spring-burned plots had greater plant species richness and overall vegetation cover than summer-burned plots at the end of the growing season, and supported a different abundance of individual plant species. At the end of September, spring-burned plots had greater plant species richness (5.5 species/m2) than summer-burned plots (2.6 species/m2). Spring-burned plots had greater overall vegetation cover (94%) than summer-burned plots (23%). The most abundant plant species in spring-burned plots included ricecut grass Leersia oryzoides (cover: 50%; frequency: 97%), beggarticks Bidens spp. (cover: 31%; frequency: 100%) and marsh elder Iva ciliata (cover: 17%; frequency: 90%). The most abundant species in summer-burned plots included ricecut grass (cover: 5%; frequency: 97%) and sesbania Sesbania exaltala (cover: 5%; frequency: 70%). Beggarticks and marsh elder each had <1% cover and occurred in only 3% of quadrats, on average. Methods: In 1992, six 0.1-ha plots were established in a freshwater marsh managed for waterfowl (i.e. winter flooding followed by spring or summer drawdown). Three random plots were burned in spring (early April) and three were burned in summer (late July). In the summer-burned plots, vegetation was mown three days before burning. Cover of every plant species, and bare ground, were recorded in late September 1992 in ten 1-m2 quadrats/plot.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  2. Use prescribed fire to control problematic plants: freshwater marshes

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1992 in an ephemeral freshwater marsh in Missouri, USA (Laubhan 1995) found that summer-burned plots (but not spring-burned plots) contained fewer plant species and had lower vegetation cover than unburned plots. Vegetation was surveyed at the end of September. Unburned plots contained 4.6 plant species/m2 and had 92% total vegetation cover. The most abundant plant species included fox sedge Carex vulpinoidea (cover: 28%; frequency: 60%), marsh elder Iva ciliata (cover: 25%; frequency: 100%), ricecut grass Leersia oryzoides (cover: 17%; frequency: 50%) and beggarticks Bidens spp. (cover: 12%; frequency: 100%). Spring-burned plots had statistically similar plant species richness (5.5 species/m2) and total vegetation cover (94%) to the unburned plots, but were dominated by ricecut grass (cover: 50; frequency: 97%) and beggarticks (cover: 31%; frequency: 100%). Summer-burned plots had significantly lower plant species richness (2.8 species/m2) and lower total vegetation cover (23%) than the unburned plots. The most abundant plant species in summer-burned plots were ricecut grass (cover: 5%; frequency: 97%) and sesbania Sesbania exaltala (cover: 5%; frequency: 70%). Methods: Nine 0.1-ha plots were established in a freshwater marsh managed for waterfowl (i.e. winter flooding followed by spring or summer drawdown). Three random plots received each treatment: spring burning (April 1992), summer burning (July 1992) or no burning. In the summer-burned plots, vegetation was mown three days before burning. Cover of every plant species, and bare ground, were recorded in September 1992 in ten 1-m2 quadrats/plot.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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