Skip to Main Content
FUEL CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH NATIVE AND EXOTIC GRASSES IN A SUBTROPICAL DRY FOREST IN PUERTO RICOAuthor(s): Jarrod M. Thaxton; Skip J. Van Bloem; Stefanie Whitmire
Source: Fire Ecology
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Download Publication (643.0 KB)
DescriptionExotic grasses capable of increasing frequency and intensity of anthropogenic fire have invaded subtropical and tropical dry forests worldwide. Since many dry forest trees are susceptible to fire, this can result in decline of native species and loss of forest cover. While the contribution of exotic grasses to altered fire regimes has been well documented, the role of native grasses in contributing to fuel loads in dry forest has received little attention. We assessed differences in fuel conditions among native and exotic grasses within a subtropical dry forest preserve in Puerto Rico. We quantified fine fuel loads, fuel continuity, and seasonal changes in percent dead grass among the following grass patch types: (1) native grass with no known history of recent fire, (2) exotic grass that had burned once (single burn), and (3) exotic grass that burns frequently. Sampling was conducted during one wet season (August to October 2008) and again in the following dry season (February to March 2009). Overall, fine fuel loading was highest in native grass, but this was due to woody fuels rather than grass fuels. Percent of dead grass fuels increased with the transition from wet to dry season, and this increase was more pronounced for exotic grasses. Fuel continuity was highest in frequently burned exotic grass. Differences in grass phenology and fuel continuity may contribute to differences in fire frequency among native and exotic grass patches. Fuel management focused on prescribed fire should be used in conjunction with restoration of tree canopy to reduce fuels and limit development of a grass-fire cycle.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationThaxton, Jarrod M.; Van Bloem, Skip J.; Whitmire, Stefanie. 2012. Fuel conditions associated with native and exotic grasses in a subtropical dry forest in Puerto Rico. Fire Ecology, Vol. 8(3): 9 pages.: 9-17.
Keywordsalien species, fuel loads, fuel management, grass, Guanica Commonwealth Forest, invasive species, Puerto Rico, subtropical dry forest
- Long term impacts of invasive grasses and subsequent fire in seasonally dry Hawaiian woodlands
- Subtropical dry forest regeneration in grass-invaded areas of Puerto Rico: understanding why Leucaena leucocephala dominates and native species fail
- Invasive grasses: A new perfect storm for forested ecosystems?
XML: View XML