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Project ID: 03-1-4-09

Year: 2003

Date Started: 08/26/2003

Date Completed: 08/09/2007

Title: Patch Burning on Grasslands: Effects on Fuels, Fire Behavior, and Fire Spread

Project Proposal Abstract: Using the fire-grazing interaction is a new paradigm of rangeland management (Fuhlendorf and Engle 2001) that simultaneously enhances biological diversity and maintains livestock production on rangelands with a long history of herbivory by large ungulates (i.e., Great Plains grasslands). Traditional rangeland management generally attempts to reduce the heterogeneity inherent in rangelands. Although fuel characteristics, fire behavior, and the influence of fire on invasive species (i.e., Juniperus virginiana) have been described, these descriptions apply to grasslands managed for homogeneity (i.e., uniform fuel beds). Our goal is to quantify the influence of patch burning on fuels and fire behavior where patch burning is used in a landscape approach to managing fuels and reducing wildfire potential in grasslands. Ultimately, our goal is to produce a model that optimizes patch burning to reduce fire spread across grassland landscapes. Patch burning allows free selection by large ungulates among burned and unburned patches within a landscape. Intense grazing within burned patches is rotated across the landscape over several years. Therefore, landscape patches differ in plant composition and live herbaceous and dead fuel accumulated since a patch was burned. The result is a shifting mosaic of altered fuel types that may impede wildfire spread while at the same time may provide greater control of invasive plant species (Juniperus virginiana) and habitat improvement for grassland obligate wildlife. Our evaluation could result in an innovative alternative for managing grassland fuels to reduce wildfire spread while simultaneously enhancing biological diversity. Patch burning allows fine fuels accumulation on patches to be burned (i.e., not recently burned), potentially contributing to more effective woody plant control. These patches are dispersed across the landscape within a matrix of patches that have been more recently burned and have less accumulated fine fuel, which would potentially limit wildfire spread. We will develop technology transfer mechanisms to deliver this technology. This proposal relates to the third element of Task 4 in the AFP 2003-1, that is, to evaluate the impacts of changing fire suppression and fire use policies, and the interaction of fire and other factors (such as grazing, invasive species, etc.) on ecosystem structure and health.

Principal Investigator: David M. Engle

Agency/Organization: Oklahoma State University

Branch or Dept: Division of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Terrence G. Bidwell

Oklahoma State University

Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management

Co-Principal Investigator

Samuel D. Fuhlendorf

Oklahoma State University

Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management

Co-Principal Investigator

David L. Nofziger

Oklahoma State University

Department of Plant & Soil Sciences

Federal Cooperator

Mark M. Kaib

FWS-Fish and Wildlife Service

Region 2-Southwest Regional Office

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Great Plains

There are no project locations identified for this project.

Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
view or print   1531 Government Publication Restoring Heterogeneity on Rangelands: Ecosystem Management Based on Evolutionary Grazing Patterns
    2310 Journal Article Patch-Burning: Using Fire and Grazing to Restore Diversity in Prairie
view or print   2480 Journal Article Landscape Ecology
    7 Invited Paper/Presentation Building a Disaster Resistant Community: Bridging Research and Practice
    15 Invited Paper/Presentation Restoring Heterogeneity on Rangelands
    22 Invited Paper/Presentation Restoring Heterogeneity on Rangelands
    23 Invited Paper/Presentation Restoring Heterogeneity on Rangelands
    24 Invited Paper/Presentation Eastern Red Cedar Control and Management
    101 Poster Simulation of Fire Behavior in Response to Fuel Variation Caused by a Fire-Grazing Interaction
    103 Invited Paper/Presentation Spatial Variation of Fire Behavior on Simulated Grassland Mosaics
    104 Invited Paper/Presentation Using the Fire-Grazing Interaction to Restore Heterogeneity on Rangelands
    134 Invited Paper/Presentation Moving Cattle With Fire: Fire, Grazing and Land Management in the Southern Plains
    135 Invited Paper/Presentation Planning Grassland Ecosystem Diversity Based on an Historical Framework
    150 Invited Paper/Presentation Fire-Grazing Interaction for Heterogeneity
    151 Invited Paper/Presentation Promoting Heterogeneity on Rangelands
    182 Invited Paper/Presentation Restoring Heterogeneity to Rangelands: Ecosystem Management Based on Evolutionary Fire-Grazing Interactions
    373 Field Demonstration/Tour Patch-Burning and Heterogeneity on Oklahoma Grasslands. July 5-7, 2006
  go to website 1554 Website  
    5970 Invited Paper/Presentation Patch Burning (Rotational Grazing Without Fences): A Win-Win for Grazing Agriculture and Grassland Species Conservation
    5971 Invited Paper/Presentation The Altered Grazing Selectivity Hypothesis: A Management Option for Exotic Invasive Forage Species
    5401 Invited Paper/Presentation Heterogeneity and Conservation of Grassland Ecosystems

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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