• Effects of grazing management on standing crop dynamics in tallgrass prairie

      Cassels, D. M.; Gillen, R. L.; McCollum, F. T.; Tate, K. W.; Hodges, M. E. (Society for Range Management, 1995-01-01)
      Grazing system and stocking rate effects on forage standing crop of tallgrass prairies in north-central Oklahoma were evaluated from 1989 to 1993. Twelve experimental units, consisting of pastures dominated by big bluestem [Andropogon gerardi Vitman], little bluestem [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx. Nash], indiangrass [Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash], and switch grass [Panicum virgatum L.], were arranged in a completely randomized design with either a short duration rotation or continuous grazing system and stocking rates ranging from 127 kg animal live-weight/ha to 222 kg live-weight/ha. Yearling steers grazed the units from late April to late September. Herbage standing crop was sampled in July and September. Total, live, and dead standing crops did not differ significantly between the 2 grazing systems in July. Total standing crop was significantly higher in the rotation units in September (3,600 versus 3,020 kg/ha, P < 0.05). Dead standing crop was also higher in the rotation units in September (1,950 versus 1,570 kg/ha, P < 0.05). Evidence suggests the difference in standing crop between systems is due, in part, to reduced forage intake by the livestock. Grazing system did not interact with either stocking rate or year. Stocking rate had significant effects on total, live and dead standing crops at both sample dates. The slope of the total standing crop-stocking rate relationship varied over years and ranged from -12 to -36 kg/ha per kg live-weight/ha in July and from -12 to -27 kg/ha per kg live-weight/ha in September. Higher standing crop at the end of the grazing season in the rotation units would mean greater soil protection and higher fuel loading for prescribed burning, and would suggest a lower impact on plant vigor. However, if the higher standing crop is a result of lower forage intake, we would expect livestock weight gains to decline.
    • Intermountain West lightning-caused fires: Climatic predictors of area burned

      Knapp, P. A. (Society for Range Management, 1995-01-01)
      An increase in continuous fine fuels promoted by the expansion of aggressive annual exotic grasses in the Intermountain West has altered the region's fire regimes, with both ecologic and economic ramifications. I examine the predictive nature of seasonal climatic variables, seasonal precipitation and temperature data up to 2 years before the actual summer fire season, to forecast the area burned by lightning-caused fires during the 13 fire seasons (1980-1992). Five climatically-distinct regions in the shadscale, sagebrush-steppe, sagebrush-semidesert, and open pine with grass communities of California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah were included in the analysis. The amount of associated variance ranged from 43 to 62% between area burned and seasonal climatic variables. Results show that the seasonal climate that promotes fue is distinctly regional, even in areas of similar vegetation. However, the area burned increases primarily when the climate favors the growth of annual grasses over perennial species, or promotes either cooler or wetter conditions during the previous summer (fire) seasons. These results provide land managers with additional information for making decisions on presuppression activities.