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Ecology of fire in shortgrass prairie of the southern Great PlainsAuthor(s): Paulette L. Ford; Guy R. McPherson
Source: In: Finch, Deborah M., Editor. Ecosystem disturbance and wildlife conservation in western grasslands - A symposium proceedings. September 22-26, 1994; Albuquerque, NM. General Technical Report RM-GTR-285. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. p. 20-39.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station
PDF: Download Publication (106.45 KB)
DescriptionThe ecology of fire in shortgrass prairie of the southern Great Plains includes a complex interaction between the shortgrass prairie ecosystem and its inhabitants, all inextricably linked to land-use patterns. The history of the relationship between man and fire has been filled with ambivalence and mistrust, along with an appreciation of the power of fire as a management tool. Fire is now used as a management tool on at least a limited scale in all areas of North America, and perhaps nowhere is the role of fire in community organization more widely acknowledged than in grassland ecosystems. Numerous studies have indicated that plant, arthropod, bird, and mammal populations and communities respond differentially to disturbance by fire, due in part to the fact that fire can have both direct and indirect effects. Therefore, grassland fires may directly or indirectly elicit major or minor changes in population or community structure depending upon the vagility, life history and trophic level of the organisms, degree of modification of habitat, and the timing, extent, and frequency of the fire. Interpretation and application of the results of previous studies of fire effects are constrained by the descriptive nature of these studies. Field-based experimental research is needed to help resource managers predict community responses to fire.
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CitationFord, Paulette L.; McPherson, Guy R. 1996. Ecology of fire in shortgrass prairie of the southern Great Plains. In: Finch, Deborah M., Editor. Ecosystem disturbance and wildlife conservation in western grasslands - A symposium proceedings. September 22-26, 1994; Albuquerque, NM. General Technical Report RM-GTR-285. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. p. 20-39.
Keywordsriparian ecosystems, human dimensions, hydrology, ecology, history, restoration
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