Master's Theses

Date of Award

Fall 1977

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Robert Nicholson

Abstract

A two-year project was initiated in 1974 to study the effects of a late spring burn on three ungrazed, Mixed Prairie range sites. The six study sites were located on federal property surrounding Wilson Reservoir, Russell County, Kansas. Differences in yield, production of seedstalks, basal cover, species composition, and frequency were compared on adjacent control and burned plots. Soil water was measured on four study sites in 1974. Vegetation response to burning varied by range site and year of study. There were no significant reductions in total forage production on any of the study sites. Of the five sites dominated by warm season grasses, total production was lower on the burned plot on only one. Little bluestem was the only important warm season grass for which production decreased as a result of the burn. All sampling techniques indicated that western wheatgrass is susceptible to extreme damage when burned in late spring. Weedy species of grasses and forbs filled the niche left vacant by the reduction of western wheatgrass. Data on basal cover, species composition, and frequency followed the same trends on the burned plots as did data on production. These tests indicated that suffrutescent species are mal-adapted to a spring burn. Production of seedstalks of three grasses was greater on the burned plots in 1974. Burning significantly reduced soil water on one of the four sites sampled. Reduced interception of rainfall early in the growing season was the probable cause of the higher soil water content on the burned plots. Later in the growing season, soil water levels were generally greater on the control plots. Results of this study indicate that burning in late spring is an effective management technique on ungrazed Mixed Prairie vegetation.

Rights

Copyright 1977 Michael L. Pellant

Comments

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code).

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