Study

The interactive effects of herbivory and fire on an oligohaline marsh, Little Lake, Louisiana, USA

  • Published source details Taylor K.L., Grace J.B., Guntenspergen G.R. & Foote A.L. (1994) The interactive effects of herbivory and fire on an oligohaline marsh, Little Lake, Louisiana, USA. Wetlands, 14, 82-87

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance: brackish/salt marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Exclude wild vertebrates: brackish/salt marshes

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

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 1991 in a brackish marsh in Louisiana, USA (Taylor et al. 1994) found that burned plots contained less plant biomass than unburned plots, but had similar plant species richness. Ten weeks after a single burn, above-ground vegetation biomass was lower in burned plots (565 g/m2) than in unburned plots (947 g/m2). For five of six common plant species, biomass was statistically similar in burned and unburned plots. For the sixth species, saltmeadow cordgrass Spartina patens, burned plots contained significantly less biomass (311 g/m2) than unburned plots (645 g/m2). Burned and unburned plots contained a statistically similar number of plant species (data not reported). Methods: Twenty 1-m2 plots were established, in five sets of four, in a coastal brackish marsh. The marsh had probably been historically burned: burning is a traditional management technique in the area. Ten plots (two plots/set) were burned in June 1991. The other plots were not burned. Half of the plots in each treatment were also fenced to exclude herbivores. In September 1991, vegetation was cut from each plot then identified, dried and weighed.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  2. Exclude wild vertebrates: brackish/salt marshes

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 1991 in a brackish marsh in Louisiana, USA (Taylor et al. 1994) found that plots fenced to exclude nutria Myocastor coypus contained more vegetation biomass than plots that remained open to grazing, but had similar plant species richness. After six months, fenced plots contained more above-ground vegetation biomass (974 g/m2) than open plots (538 g/m2). Individual species showed mixed responses. For example, fenced plots contained more biomass of chairmaker’s bulrush Scirpus olneyi (fenced: 244 g/m2; open: 27 g/m2), but statistically similar biomass of the other dominant species, saltmeadow cordgrass Spartina patens (fenced: 557 g/m2; open: 381 g/m2) and less biomass of Cyperus sedges (fenced: 1–2 g/m2; open: 11–46 g/m2). Fenced and open plots contained a statistically similar number of plant species (data not reported). Methods: In March 1991, twenty 1-m2 plots were established (in five sets of four) in a coastal brackish marsh. Ten plots (two plots/set) were fenced (2.5 x 5.0 cm plastic-coated mesh) to exclude nutria (and other large mammals). The other plots were not fenced. Half of the plots under each treatment were burned, in June. In September 1991, all vegetation was cut from each plot then identified, dried and weighed.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

Output references

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