Study

Prescribed burn creates pulsed effects on a wetland aquatic community

  • Published source details Venne L.S., Trexler J.C. & Frederick P.C. (2016) Prescribed burn creates pulsed effects on a wetland aquatic community. Hydrobiologia, 771, 281-295.

Actions

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

Cut/mow herbaceous plants 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 replicated, controlled study in 2010 in a permanent freshwater marsh in Florida, USA (Venne et al. 2016) found that burned plots had similar overall vegetation cover to unburned plots, but contained greater cover and biomass of surface-encrusting algae and contained shorter vegetation. Over 72 days following intervention, burned plots had statistically similar overall vegetation cover (25%) to unburned plots (41%). However, burned plots contained a greater abundance of surface-encrusting algae, both in terms of cover (burned: 27%; unburned: 21%) and biomass (burned: 51 g/m2; unburned: 42 g/m2). Finally, burned plots contained shorter vegetation, both in terms of average height (burned: 89 cm; unburned: 165 cm) and maximum height (burned: 104 cm; unburned: 200 cm). Methods: In early April 2010, a 690 ha area of marsh (dominated by sawgrass Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense) was burned. Standing water was present during the burn. Historically, this type of marsh was frequently disturbed by lightning fires. Vegetation and algae were surveyed every 10 days between 2 and 72 days after burning, in four 100-m2 plots in the burned area and four 100-m2 plots in a nearby unburned area. Algae were dried before weighing.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  2. Cut/mow herbaceous plants to maintain or restore disturbance: freshwater marshes

    A replicated, controlled study in 2010 in a permanent freshwater marsh in Florida, USA (Venne et al. 2016) found that cut plots contained shorter vegetation than uncut plots, but had similar overall vegetation cover and contained a similar amount of surface-encrusting algae. Over 72 days following intervention, emergent vegetation was shorter in cut than uncut plots. This was true for both the average height (cut: 83 cm; uncut: 165 cm) and maximum height (cut: 101 cm; uncut: 200 cm). Plots under each treatment had statistically similar overall vegetation cover (cut: 28%; uncut: 41%), cover of surface-encrusting algae (cut: 14%; uncut: 21%) and biomass of surface-encrusting algae (cut: 13 g/m2; uncut: 42 g/m2). Methods: In early April 2010, eight 100-m2 plots were established in a marsh dominated by sawgrass Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense. Historically, this type of marsh was frequently disturbed by lightning fires. Four plots were cut with hedge trimmers, approximately 48 cm above marsh surface (32 cm above water). Cuttings were removed. The other four plots were not cut. Plants and algae were surveyed every 10 days, between 2 and 72 days after cutting. Algae were dried before weighing.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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