Influence of late season fire on early successional vegetation of an Oklahoma prairie

  • Engle D
  • Palmer M
  • Crockett J
 et al. 
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The study of vegetation dynamics in tallgrass prairie in response to fire has focused on dormant season fire in late successional prairies. Our objective was to determine if late season fire of varying frequency results in divergent successional patterns in an early successional tallgrass prairie disturbed by grazing and cultivation. Specifically, we evaluated the influence of late-summer fires of varying frequency on community composition and species richness. We collected vegetation and environmental data on two sites burned in the late growing-season at varying frequencies. These communities differed in composition depending primarily on edaphic factors, time since the last burn, and year-to-year variation. We interpret the time effect as related to changes in species composition accompanying plant succession that followed disturbance either from cropping and heavy grazing on the loamy site or heavy grazing on the shallow site. Other unidentified factors also have a role in vegetation dynamics on this prairie. Community composition and species richness were not consistently responsive to frequency of growing-season fires.

Author-supplied keywords

  • burn season
  • canonical correspondence analysis
  • canonical correspondence-analysis
  • communities
  • composition
  • correspondence analysis
  • detrended
  • fire frequency
  • frequency
  • grassland
  • grassland vegetation
  • intermediate disturbance
  • late growing-season
  • prairie
  • seed bank
  • species
  • tallgrass
  • topographic position

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  • D M Engle

  • M W Palmer

  • J S Crockett

  • R L Mitchell

  • R Stevens

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