Disturbance from fire can affect the abundance and distribution of shrubs and grasses in arid ecosystems. In particular, fire may increase grass and forb production while hindering shrub encroachment. Therefore, prescribed fires are a common management tool for maintaining grassland habitats in the southwest. However, Bouteloua eriopoda (black grama), a dominant species in Chihuahuan Desert grassland, is highly susceptible to fire resulting in death followed by slow recovery rates. A prescribed fire on the Sevilleta National Wildlife refuge in central New Mexico in 2003 provided the opportunity to study the effects of infrequent fires on shrub invasion in this region. This study was conducted along a transition zone where creosote bushes (Larrea tridentata) are encroaching on a black grama grassland.
To study the effects of infrequent fires on shrub invasion in Chihuahuan desert grassland.
Contact Burt Pendleton at the email address below for the methods/protocol for this study.
Plots are a replicate and treatment from the previous study. The following codes define the plots listed in this study: 3 B-O and 4 B-O=burned open, 3 B-F and 4 B-F=burned fenced, 3 C-F and 4 C-F=control fenced, 3 C-O and 4 C-O=control open
Quads are 3m by 4m and values range from 3099-3191.
***2003 data were collected before the prescribed fire. All data from subsequent years were collected after the fire.
Data were visually assessed for obvious errors.
See all Sevilleta Publications