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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Fire and Grazing Effects on Vegetation and Biological Soil Crusts

Authors
item MUSCHA, JENNIFER
item VERMEIRE, LANCE
item Haferkamp, Marshall

Submitted to: Research Update for Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: June 30, 2005
Publication Date: July 15, 2005
Repository URL: http://www.ars.usda.gov/npa/ftkeogh
Citation: Muscha, J.M., Vermeire, L.T., Haferkamp, M.R. 2005. Fire and grazing effects on vegetation and biological soil crusts. 2005 Research Update for Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory. p. 48-49.

Interpretive Summary: Biological soil crusts increase soil water retention and may enhance plant establishment. Crusts may be sensitive to disturbances, but little information is available on their response to fire and grazing in the Northern Plains. We measured cover on permanent plots in grazed, burned, and non-grazed non-burned sites before and after disturbance to determine crust response. First-year results indicate burning increased bare ground, but left lichens intact. Moss cover was reduced by either grazing or fire. Shifts in bare ground may be expected to have delayed effects on lichen cover and monitoring is being continued.

Technical Abstract: Biological soil crusts increase soil water retention and may enhance plant establishment. Crusts may be sensitive to disturbances, but little information is available on their response to fire and grazing in the Northern Plains. We measured cover on permanent plots in grazed, burned, and non-grazed non-burned sites before and after disturbance to determine crust response. First-year results indicate burning increased bare ground, but left lichens intact. Moss cover was reduced by either grazing or fire. Shifts in bare ground may be expected to have delayed effects on lichen cover and monitoring is being continued.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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