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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2009

RESTORING DEGRADED TEXAS RANGELANDS BY PRESCRIBING EXTREME FIRE TO CONTROL CACTI INVASIONS

Restoration Fire Cacti

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Research, Education & Economics Information System (REEIS)

Titre : RESTORING DEGRADED TEXAS RANGELANDS BY PRESCRIBING EXTREME FIRE TO CONTROL CACTI INVASIONS

Identification : TEX09120

Pays : Etats Unis

Durée : Jun 9, 2009 à Jun 8, 2014

Mots clés : prescribed extreme fire, controlled burn, opuntia, prickly pearcactus, rangeland degradation, restoration, plant invasion

Partenaire : TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY 750 AGRONOMY RD STE 2701 COLLEGE STATION,TX 77843-0001

Objectifs
We propose to examine the effects of fire and other ecological variables on Opuntia population growth and survival in mesquite and juniper degraded rangelands at the Sonora AgriLife Research Station located on the Edwards Plateau in Central Texas. With a combination of interrelated sub-experiments we will evaluate the role of fire intensity, seasonality, herbivory pressure, microclimatic conditions, herbaceous fuel moisture and cactus moisture content on the dominant cacti and herbaceous plant species in this ecosystem. Using replicated, completely randomized experimental studies, we will assess fire behavior dynamics and the consequences of burning on mature cacti and new cacti recruitment compared to unburned reference areas. A central prediction of our research is that extreme fires will serve as an economically and ecologically preferable management tool for controlling problematic Opuntia populations in a manner analogous to the better studied woody invaders. We submit that prescribing extreme fire will more effectively kill existing Opuntia plants than cool-season burns and also retard future invasions by altering successional dynamics to favor vigorous herbaceous productivity that inhibits future Opuntia recruitment and establishment. We believe the results obtained from these studies will lead to important insights that should assist land owners and range managers more effectively restore landscapes degraded by undesirable invaders.

Descriptif
Impact of hot summer fire and fire frequency on Opuntia growth and survival - This study focusing on prickly pear cactus will be performed within the context of a pre-existing experimental design examining the effects of extreme fire frequency and individually herbicide-treated mesquite trees. The study consists of three full-factorial, completely randomized whole plot treatments (burned annually in August/September starting in 2008 and repeating the treatment at least two additional years, burned once only in August/September 2008, and not burned) and three sub plot treatments (pre first burn mesquite herbicide, post first burn mesquite herbicide and no herbicide). Each whole plot is 20 m x 30 m with 10 m buffers and each experimental treatment is replicated six times. Presently, the eighteen experimental whole plots have been established, pre-treatment vegetation inventories have been completed within each sub-plot and all initial fire and herbicide treatments have been conducted. All livestock grazing is being deferred for the duration of this study.

Présentation : USDA

Page publiée le 25 novembre 2015, mise à jour le 7 novembre 2017