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Historical Wildfires Project
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Sampling a burned stie before storm

Effects of historical wildfires on plant communities and soils

Beginning in 2014 we worked with the Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association and the US Forest Service to measure plant community composition, vegetation structure and soil nutrient content on 159 transects located inside or near 32 wildfires that ignited between 1937 and 2012. In order to understand how soil type influences ecological response to fire, we sampled on seven different ecological sites. In 2015, we measured peak standing crop at each transect. This work will help us better understand the long-term impacts of wildfire on different parts of the ecosystem. We will use results to improve current Ecological Site Descriptions and State and Transition Models for the region. 

Edge of a wildfire that burned in 2010 Field crew 2014: Megan Gordon, Skye Greenler, Katie SurakTaking vegetation data in an old burn

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