We evaluated the effects of a lightning-initiated fire on responses of vegetation communities. Following a fire in July 1998, 25 experimental plots were established on the eastern edge of MacKenzie Flats at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. Ten of these plots were located in a Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama)- dominated site, while 15 were established in another area dominated by Bouteloua eriopoda (black grama). We evaluated basal and aerial cover of all plant species at the community level using a vertical line point intercept method along transects within plots. Sampling was conducted immediately after the fire during the last week of July 1998, and again in September and October of 2001.
Experimental Design - Following a lightning-initiated fire in July 1998, 25 experimental plots were established on the eastern edge of MacKenzie Flats at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. Ten of these plots were located in a Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama)-dominated site, while 15 were established in another area dominated by Bouteloua eriopoda (black grama). In the former site, five of the 10 plots were established in burned areas, and the others were positioned in unburned grassland vegetation. In the latter site, five plots were placed in burned areas, five were positioned in unburned grasslands, and the five remaining plots were located in an area that contained a mix of burned and unburned patches of grassland vegetation.
Sampling Design - All of the plots in the Bouteloua gracilis-dominated site were 4 m x 16 m. Of the 25 plots where B. eriopoda was more abundant, nine were 4 m x 16 m and 16 were 4 m x 25 m. Regardless of site, all plots were oriented such that the long axis of each was parallel to a topographic gradient running east-west.
We sampled vegetation responses on two separate occasions. An initial sampling was conducted immediately after the fire during the last week of July 1998, and a final sample was conducted in September and October of 2001. During each of the two samples periods, four parallel transects were randomly positioned along the long axis of each plot. In 4 m x 16 m plots, transects were 12 m long, and 125 pins were vertically dropped every 10 cm along each transect. Transects were 25 m long in 4 x 25 m plots, and 125 pins were dropped every 20 cm along each transect.
Field Methods - Along each transect, vegetation community data were collected using the vertical point transect method (Bonham 1989). At each pin drop, all species that intercepted the pin were recorded in the order in which they were encountered from vegetation canopy to ground level. Additionally, we noted if a pin directly hit a plant species, bare ground, or litter.
The metadata and data were provided by Sandra Albro Rutter (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Paul Drewa at Case Western University. These data are not yet available to the public and are presently stored in an Excel file. Note that the last three variables in the attributes list are for the species abbreviations worksheet in the Excel file. The metadata were originally in a Word document. -- KLV
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