Submitted to: Society of Range Management
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2005
Publication Date: 1/15/2006
Citation: Branson, D.H., Vermeire, L.T. 2006. Effects of summer fire and post-fire grazing on grasshopper abundance and species composition. Society for Range Management. Abstract 59:44.
Technical Abstract: Habitat management practices such as burning or livestock grazing have the potential to be important tools in grasshopper management. Few studies have simultaneously examined the effects of fire and post-fire grazing on grasshopper populations. The responses of grasshoppers to late summer fire and post-fire grazing intensity were examined in a field experiment at the Ft. Keogh Livestock and Range Research Lab in eastern Montana. The four treatments sampled included: no fire and 0% utilization, fire and 0% utilization, fire and 17% utilization, and fire with 50% utilization. There were four replicate 1.86 acre plots per treatment. Fire was applied in August of 2003 and grazed plots were stocked with ewes from late June to mid-July 2004. Grasshopper population density and species composition were assessed before the fire and for two years following the fire. Population densities in all plots were low in 2004 and 2005. Grasshopper abundance was lower in burned plots in 2004, but was unaffected by grazing intensity. Post-fire grazing intensity is unlikely to have large effects on grasshopper population dynamics when grasshopper densities are extremely low. Fire appears effective in reducing some, but not all, grasshopper pest species.