Honey mesquite (prosopis glandulosa) seedling responses to seasonal timing of fire and fireline intensity
woody plant invasion
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CitationJames Ansley, R., Kramp, B. A., & Jones, D. L. (2015). Honey mesquite (prosopis glandulosa) seedling responses to seasonal timing of fire and fireline intensity. Rangeland Ecology & Management, 68(2), 194–203.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalRangeland Ecology & Management
AbstractFire-resistant woody species have invaded many grassland and savanna ecosystems worldwide. Adults of many of these species are fire resistant because they resprout following fire; however, seedlings may be vulnerable to fire. Here we quantify effects of seasonal timing of fire and fireline intensity on seedling mortality response to fire in honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa Torr.), a native woody legume that has increased in abundance in southern Great Plains, USA grasslands. Scarified mesquite seeds were planted in plots with either mid-grass or tall-grass fuels in each of 2 years (Cohorts 1 and 2). Plots were burned in winter when seedlings were 10 or 22 months old or late summer when they were 17 months old. In the mid-grass fuel type, seedling mortality was greater (P ≤ 0.05) in summer-burned, 17-month-old seedlings (85%) than in winter-burned, 10-month-old seedlings (35%), suggesting summer fire may be important in limiting seedling establishment under lower-grass, fine-fuel conditions. The tall-grass fuel type yielded similar mortality responses to summer (89% and 79%) and winter (77% and 66%) fires in Cohorts 1 and 2, respectively (differences not significant at P ≤ 0.05). The study found a positive relationship between fireline intensity and seedling mortality, especially when only winter fires were included in the regression (r2 = 0.96). Summer fire may be most useful in lower-grass fuel amounts and may accomplish the same level of seedling mortality without the need for lengthy grazing deferral to accumulate sufficient grass fine fuel for a successful winter fire, as seedling mortality from winter fire depends on fireline intensity. © 2015 Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.