Submitted to: Society of Range Management
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/18/2006
Publication Date: 2/1/2007
Citation: Grings, E.E., Vermeire, L.T. 2007. Summer fire effects on plant tissue class in the Northern Great Plains.. Society of Range Management Abstract #173. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of summer fire on plant biomass and tissue class in the Northern Great Plains one year following fire. Sites were located near Miles City, MT. Four replicated 0.75-ha plots were burned in August 2003 and four plots were burned in August 2004. Four separate replicated control plots were used for each burn year. Biomass was clipped in early April, mid-July and early September of the year following burn. Ten 0.25 m2 quadrats were clipped to the ground within each plot and sorted by the species classes of sedge, cool-season grasses, warm-season grasses, annual grasses, and forbs. After drying and weighing for total biomass, samples were sorted into live (greater than 50% green) and dead (less than 50% green) components, re-weighed and combined within plot and live:dead component. Data were analyzed using mixed model procedures with treatment, clipping month, and plot within treatment as fixed effects and burn year and clipping year as random effects. Total biomass was decreased by burning (1031 v 616 ± 63 kg/ha for control and burned plots, respectively), however, the amount of live tissue was not affected by treatment (304 v 289 ± 25 kg/ha for control and burned plots, respectively). Differences in total biomass due to burning were the result of decreased dead tissue biomass on burned plots (731 v 332 ± 54 kg/ha for control and burned plots, respectively). Treatment effects did not interact with time of sampling. We conclude that summer burning decreased plant biomass in the following year by removing standing dead tissue without affecting new growth.