Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub

    Description

    Fire was historically a dominant ecological process throughout mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. vaseyana [Rydb.] Beetle) ecosystems of western North America, and the native biota have developed many adaptations to persist in a regime typified by frequent fires. Following spring and fall prescribed fires conducted in sites of different ecological conditions at the Lava Beds National Monument, California, USA, we examined the reproductive, density, and cover responses of four native bunchgrasses: bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata [Pursh] A. Löve), Thurber’s needlegrass (Achnatherum thurberianum [Piper] Barkworth), squirreltail (Elymus elymoides [Raf.] Swezey), and Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda J. Presl). High rates of survival and fire-enhanced flowering were measured following fires. Thurber's needlegrass density decreased following spring burns in sites dominated by cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) (from 3.3 plants m-2 to 0.8 plants m-2; P < 0.05). Density of bluebunch wheatgrass decreased following spring fires (from 3.7 plants m-2 to 1.9 plants m-2; P = 0.02) and cover was reduced in both spring and fall burn treatments (P = 0.04) in native dominated sites. Fire-enhanced flowering (increases in reproductive efforts) occurred in bluebunch wheatgrass in cheatgrass dominated sites (244 % increase in reproductive culms following fire), native dominated sites (350 % increase), and woody encroachment sites (500 % increase) sites following fall fires. These results show that these native bunchgrasses positively respond to prescribed fire through increases in reproductive efforts and high rates of survival following fires. This suggests that fire can be an important tool for the restoration and conservation of these fire adapted bunchgrasses.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, shobrla@fs.fed.us if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • 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.

    Citation

    ​Ellsworth, Lisa M.; Kauffman, J. Boone. 2010. Native bunchgrass response to prescribed fire in ungrazed Mountain Big Sagebrush ecosystems. Fire Ecology. 6(3): 86-96.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    Artemisia tridentata, Bromus tectorum, bunchgrass, cheatgrass, fire return interval, mountain big sagebrush, prescribed fire, Pseudoroegneria spicata, rangeland restoration

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/54188