FIRE, DROUGHT AND GRAZING INTERACTIONS IN NORTHERN MIXED PRAIRIE
Livestock and Range Research Laboratory (LARRL)
2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Determine interacting effects of fire, weather and herbivory on northern mixed prairie communities.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
We will examine the resistance and resilience of rangeland plants to the interactions of fire, drought and grazing applied with varying levels of severity and different timing in field and laboratory experiments to indicate whether disturbances have additive effects on plant response. Treatment effects will be evaluated by measuring biomass, bud banks, plant species composition and plant diversity before and after treatment.
Fire, drought and grazing interactions in northern mixed prairie study plots have been established. Pre-treatment sampling and initial treatments are on schedule for applying prescribed fires. A manuscript reviewing bud dynamics is in progress and preliminary data from a long-term fire seasonality and fire frequency experiment are being submitted for presentation at the Society for Range Management Meetings in 2012. ADODR communications have been daily through personal contact, phone and e-mail. Two planning/progress meetings were held this year, one in Fargo and one in Miles City. This project supports NP 215 Rangeland, Pasture and Forages Action Plan under Component I (Rangeland Management Systems to Enhance the Environment and Economic Viability) and supports ARS strategic plan Objective 5.1 (Provide Science-Based Knowledge and Education To Improve the Management of Forest, Rangelands, and Pastures). More specifically, experiments in this project target the following objective of the NP 215 Action Plan: A.2, Determine impact of livestock grazing, fire, mechanical treatments, and drought on ecological integrity and watershed structure and function.