Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Panicum obtusum

Introductory

SPECIES: Panicum obtusum
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Griffith, Randy Scott. 1991. Panicum obtusum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].
ABBREVIATION : PANOBT SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : PAOB COMMON NAMES : vine-mesquite panic grass TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of vine-mesquite is Panicum obtusum H.B.K. (Poaceae) [12,42]. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Panicum obtusum
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Vine-mesquite is found in shortgrass prairie, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and desert grasslands of the southern United States and northern Mexico [23].  It occurs from southern Missouri west to southern Utah, and south to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico [18]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES29  Sagebrush    FRES30  Desert shrub    FRES31  Shinnery    FRES32  Texas savanna    FRES33  Southwestern shrubsteppe    FRES35  Pinyon - juniper    FRES38  Plains grasslands    FRES39  Prairie    FRES40  Desert grasslands STATES :      AZ  AR  CO  HI  KS  MO  NE  NM  OK  TX      UT  MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :     6  Upper Basin and Range     7  Lower Basin and Range    11  Southern Rocky Mountains    12  Colorado Plateau    13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont    14  Great Plains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K023  Juniper - pinyon woodland    K024  Juniper steppe woodland    K027  Mesquite bosque    K031  Oak - juniper woodlands    K032  Transition between K031 and K037    K037  Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub    K039  Blackbrush    K040  Saltbush - greasewood    K041  Creosotebush    K042  Creosotebush - bursage    K044  Creosotebush - tarbush    K045  Ceniza shrub    K053  Grama - galleta steppe    K054  Grama - tobosa prairie    K057  Galleta - threeawn shrubsteppe    K058  Grama - tobosa shrubsteppe    K059  Trans-Pecos shrub savanna    K060  Mesquite savanna    K061  Mesquite - acacia savanna    K062  Mesquite - live oak savanna    K065  Grama - buffalograss    K069  Bluestem - grama prairie    K070  Sandsage - bluestem prairie    K071  Shinnery    K076  Blackland prairie    K084  Cross Timbers    K085  Mesquite - buffalograss    K086  Juniper - oak savanna    K087  Mesquite - oak savanna    K088  Fayette prairie SAF COVER TYPES :     40  Post oak - blackjack oak     66  Ashe juniper - redberry (Pinchot) juniper     67  Mohrs ("shin") oak     68  Mesquite    220  Rocky Mountain juniper    235  Cottonwood - willow    239  Pinyon - juniper    240  Arizona cypress    241  Western live oak    242  Mesquite SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Vine-mesquite is commonly found in the understory of soapberry (Sapindus saponaria), gray oak (Quercus grisea), juniper (Juniperus spp.), and mesquite (Prosopis spp.) communities [4,28,29,30].  In the understory vine-mesquite is associated with curlymesquite (Hilaria belangeri), side-oats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) [9], buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides), Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides), and galleta (Hilaria jamesii) [7]. Vine-mesquite is listed as an indicator or dominant species in the following vegetation and community type classifications: Zonation of herbaceous vegetation associated with honey mesquite in    northcentral Texas [45] Riparian plant communities of the Fort Bayard watershed in southwestern    New Mexico [28] Woodland communities and soils of Fort Bayard, southwestern New Mexico [29].


MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Panicum obtusum
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Vine-mesquite is an important forage species for a variety of wildlife [7,19,27] and all classes of livestock [23].  Livestock graze the foliage and inflorescence [31]. The use of vine-mesquite by wildlife is varied.  The seed, where locally available, comprises 5 to 10 percent of the diet of northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) [27] and is important in the diets of scaled quail, Gambel's quail, and mourning doves [19].  The foliage and inflorescence are consumed by deer, elk [33], jackrabbits, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and pronghorn [7]. PALATABILITY : The palatability of vine-mesquite to livestock varies seasonally.  When vine-mesquite is green and succulent, palatability is rated as good; but as the grass matures and cures, it becomes coarse, and its palatability decreases to fair [21].  In pinyon-juniper woodlands vine-mesquite is considered an "ice cream" species.  Cattle seek out the inflorescence first, then graze the cured as well as the green vine-mesquite [31]. The degree of use shown by livestock and wildlife species for vine-mesquite in several western states is rated as follows [7,19,27,31,33]:                          AZ      CO      NM      TX      UT Cattle                  fair    fair    good    good    fair Sheep                   fair    fair    good    good    fair Horses                  fair    fair    good    good    fair Pronghorn               fair    fair    good    good    fair Elk                     good    fair    good    ----    fair Mule deer               good    ----    good    ----    ---- White-tailed deer       good    good    good    good    ---- Small mammals           good    good    good    good    good Upland game birds       good    good    good    good    good NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Vine-mesquite provides good overall nutrition for cattle [22].  Huston and others [22] reported the following nutritional values for vine-mesquite in the summer and fall:                                 Percent Composition Date            Water   Ash     Cellwall   Phosphorus   Protein   DOM*  7/27/73        53      8       70         0.14         7         53 10/25/73        57      10      71         0.10         7         42 * DOM - digestible organic matter (a measure of the digestible energy value of feeds) COVER VALUE : Due to its dense stand characteristics vine-mesquite provides hiding cover for various rodents and upland game birds [7,19,27]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Vine-mesquite provides effective erosion control due to its rhizomatous and stoloniferous characteristics [21,23]. Dahl and other [13] looked at the establishment of new stands of vine-mesquite.  Their findings showed that the ease of establishing a stand was rated as only fair, but once established, stand maintenance was rated as good.  Vine-mesquite readily established on silt and clay soils, whereas establishment on sandy soils was only fair.  Site preparation involved disc plowing and rolling.  Rolling increased the moisture-holding capabilities of the soil and improved seed placement when planted.  The seed drill was set at a depth 0.5 inch (1 cm) with a seeding rate of 6.1 pounds of pure live seed (PLS) per acre (6.9 kg PLS /ha). OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Vine-mesquite decreases in response to moderate or heavy grazing pressure [37].  Therefore, stands growing in areas subject to erosion should be lightly grazed [21].  After fire, vine-mesquite should be protected from grazing for 3 to 4 months [44]. Vine-mesquite is susceptible to broad-spectrum dicot herbicides such as picloram and dicamba.  These herbicides reduce the growth and development of its root system [36]. When reestablishing vine-mesquite on a site, one should plant in the spring when soil temperature regimes are cool to warm, and soil moisture is adequate.  Planting at this time aids in germination and seedling establishment [38].


BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Panicum obtusum
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Vine-mesquite is a native, perennial, warm season grass from 12 to 24 inches (35-70 cm) tall that produces rhizomes and stolons.  The rhizomes are short and fibrous, whereas the stolons can be up to 10 feet (3 m) in length.  The stolons have many rooting points at their swollen nodes. The inflorescence is a densely flowered, narrow panicle up to 5 inches (12 cm) in length; as it matures the seed turns brown [20,21,23]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :    Phanerophyte    Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Vine-mesquite reproduces by seed, rhizomes, and stolons [18].  To achieve germination rates of approximately 30 percent vine-mesquite requires a cool to warm soil temperature regime of 65 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (18-39 deg C).  Soil temperatures above this range result in a germination rate of only 6 percent and a reduction of average shoot height from 3 inches (7 cm) to 0.75 inches (1.8 cm) [38,39]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Vine-mesquite is an indicator of moist microsites in arid environments. It is found along streams, roads, gullies, swales, playas, and arroyos [2,5,10,16]. Soils:  Vine-mesquite occurs in the Alfisol, Entisol, Inceptisol, Mollisol, and Vertisol soil orders [30]. Climate:  Vine-mesquite inhabits areas where the winters are short and mild, and the summers are characterized by long periods of high temperatures [4].  The average annual precipitation is 10 to 18 inches (25-45 cm) [8]. Elevation:  Vine-mesquite generally grows in an elevational range of 1,000 to 6,000 feet (305-1,800 m) [24]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Vine-mesquite is a component of the climax vegetation in a mixed- grass prairie association [6].  It decreases in response to grazing but increases in response to fire [44]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Vine-mesquite is warm-season grass; thus it is summer active.  It is actively growing from May to October [24]; it flowers from July to August, depending on latitude and elevation [14].


FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Panicum obtusum
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Vine-mesquite occupies burns by sending out rhizomes and stolons from adjacent unburned areas [44]. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil


FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Panicum obtusum
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fire destroys the aboveground vegetation of vine-mesquite.  A wildfire during drought conditions with fuel buildup will remove all humus and may have an adverse effect on some of the rhizomes.  A prescribed burn during moist years with sufficient vegetation to carry the burn will leave humus in the center of the plant protecting the regenerative features [34,35]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Following fire, long stolons occupy burned areas [43].  Productivity after fire can increase by as much as 112 percent if soil moisture is adequate [3,11,35,40].  Wright [44] found that vine-mesquite thrives and produces more herbage on burns than on controls for several years following a fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : The Research Project Summary, Response of herbaceous vegetation to winter burning in Texas oak savanna provides information on postfire response of vine-mesquite and associated herbaceous species that was not available when this species review was originally written. An extensive body of research has been published on fire effects in semidesert grassland, oak savanna, and Madrean oak woodlands of southeastern Arizona, including the response of vine-mesquite to fire. See the Research Project Summary of this work for more information on vine-mesquite and more than 100 additional species of herbaceous and woody plant species, birds, small mammals, and grasshoppers. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : When planning a prescribed burn on the shortgrass prairie, soil moisture should be high, the relative humidity greater than 70 percent, and wind speed should be less than 10 miles per hour (17 km/hr) [35]. Ueckert [40] found that production and vigor of vine-mesquite was enhanced by a late winter fire.  Burning during dry years increases the drought stress on the plants, which lowers overall production in the community.  Lower production subjects the soil to wind and water erosion for longer periods of time [43].


FIRE CASE STUDIES

SPECIES: Panicum obtusum
FIRE CASE STUDY CITATION : Griffith, Randy Scott, compiler. 1991. Effects of fire on vine-mesquite in a northern Texas mixed-grass community. In: Panicum obtusum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ []. REFERENCE : Wink, Robert L.; Wright, Henry  A. 1973. Effects of fire on an ashe juniper community. Journal of Range Management. 26(5): 326-329. [2582] [43]. SEASON/SEVERITY CLASSIFICATION : Spring 1970/light Spring 1971/moderate STUDY LOCATION : The study occurred on 2,632 acres (1,053 ha) of the Beckham Ranch in Callahan County, 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Baird, Texas.   PREFIRE VEGETATIVE COMMUNITY : The vegetative community is a mixed-grass prairie interspersed with Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) and several species of oak (Quercus spp.). The major grass species are little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula), buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides), vine-mesquite, Texas wintergrass (Stipa leucotricha), and tall grama (Bouteloua pectinata).  The large junipers were dozed in 1965. TARGET SPECIES PHENOLOGICAL STATE : Vine-mesquite was dormant. SITE DESCRIPTION : The site is level to undulating with a few slopes greater than 20 percent.  Elevation is 1,205 to 1,405 feet (365-425 m).  The soils are sandy loams which are slowly to moderately permeable.  Moisture retention is moderate, and soils are fertile enough to provide good grass production.  The limestone bedrock is cracked, forming deep pockets capable of supporting deep-rooted grasses.  The average precipitation is 24 to 28 inches (60-70 cm) per year.  During the course of the study the precipitation varied from a near normal year in 1970, with 23 inches (58.2 cm) falling from November 1969 to May 1970, to a dry year in 1971, with 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) falling from November 1970 to May 1971. FIRE DESCRIPTION : The amount of heavy fuels on the site varied from 40,000 to 60,000 pounds per acre (44,800-67,200 kg/ha).  Light fuels varied from 685 to 3,185 pounds per acre (768-3,568 kg/ha).  The leeward sides were ignited prior to the start of the headfires.  Atmospheric conditions at the time of the ignition of the headfires were as follows:                                 25 March 1970   27 March 1971 air temperature                 75 degs F       86 degs F                                 (24 degs C)       (30 degs C)  humidity                        35%             25% wind speed                      10 mi/hr        15 mi/hr                                 (16 km/hr)      (25 km/hr)              Fire intensity depended on the amount of fuels.  A cool to moderate fire was carried in areas with 1,000 pounds per acre (1,120 kg/ha) of light fuels.  Those areas with heavy fuels yielded hot fires. FIRE EFFECTS ON TARGET SPECIES : During the dry year (1971) vine-mesquite opportunistically used the higher soil temperatures and litter removal to produce twice the vegetative growth of the control.  During the wet year (1970) vine-mesquite had a significant growth increase, but not as dramatic as in the dry year.  The production of vine-mesquite (kg/ha) was as follows: Year            Burned          Unburned        Difference 1970            4458            3434            +30% 1971            7777            3669            +112% The burn in the dry year (1971) resulted in the increased growth of vine-mesquite because it occupies mesic microsites, but resulted in the reduced growth of little bluestem, tall grama, and side-oats grama.  This reduced growth resulted from increased drought stress brought on by the fire.  Because vegetative recovery was slow, the soil was exposed to wind and water erosion for several months, thus increasing soil loss. The burn in the wet year (1970) resulted in an increase in growth of all species but one, side-oats grama.  With good soil moisture the plants recovered rapidly, and soil loss was negligible. FIRE MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS : When planning a prescribed burn, soil moisture should be a primary concern for the land manager.  With high soil moisture, the vegetation recovers rapidly, and the loss of soil from wind and water erosion is minimal.


REFERENCES

SPECIES: Panicum obtusum
REFERENCES :  1.  Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals,        reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's        associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO:        U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p.        [434]  2.  Bock, Jane H.; Bock, Carl E. 1986. Habitat relationships of some native        perennial grasses in southeastern Arizona. Desert Plants. 8(1): 3-14.        [478]  3.  Box, Thadis W.; White, Richard S. 1969. Fall and winter burning of south        Texas brush ranges. Journal of Range Management. 22(6): 373-376.        [11438]  4.  Box, Thadis W. 1961. Relationships between plants and soils of four        range plant communities in south Texas. Ecology. 42: 794-810.  [10494]  5.  Bridges, J. O. 1942. Reseeding practices for New Mexico ranges. Bull.        291. Las Cruces, NM: New Mexico State University, Agricultural        Experiment Station. 48 p.  [5204]  6.  Brock, John H.; Haas, R. H.; Shaver, J. C. 1978. Zonation of herbaceous        vegetation associated with honey mesquite in Northcentral Texas. In:        Hyder, Donald N., editor. Proceedings of the first international        rangeland congress; 1978 August 14-18; Denver, CO. Denver, CO: Society        for Range Management: 187-189.  [5494]  7.  Brown, David E. 1982. Plains and Great Basin grasslands. In: Brown,        David E., ed. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United        States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 115-121.  [536]  8.  Brown, David E. 1982. Semidesert grassland. In: Brown, David E., ed.        Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico.        Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 123-131.  [3603]  9.  Brown, David E. 1982. Sonoran savanna grassland. In: Brown, David E.,        ed.  Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and        Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 137-141.  [8897] 10.  Brunt, James W.; Conley, Marsha R.; Cunningham, Gary L. 1988. Sex in        Ephedra trifurca (Ephedraceae) with relation to Chihuahuan Desert        habitats. American Midland Naturalist. 119(1): 137-142.  [3672] 11.  Clary, Warren P.; Jameson, Donald A. 1981. Herbage production following        tree and shrub removal in the pinyon-juniper type of Arizona. Journal of        Range Management. 34(2): 109-113.  [642] 12.  Cronquist, Arthur; Holmgren, Arthur H.; Holmgren, Noel H.; [and others].        1977. Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West,        U.S.A. Vol. 6. The Monocotyledons. New York: Columbia University Press.        584 p.  [719] 13.  Dahl, Bill E.; Cotter, Paul F.; Wester, David B.; Britton, Carlton M.        1986. Grass seeding in west Texas. In: Smith, Loren M.; Britton, Carlton        M., eds. Research highlights--1986 Noxious brush and weed control; range        and wildlife management. Volume 17. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University:        8-15.  [3659] 14.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806] 15.  Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and        Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p.  [905] 16.  Gardner, J. L. 1950. Effects of thirty years of protection from grazing        in desert grassland. Ecology. 31(1): 44-50.  [4423] 17.  Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others].        1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range        ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. 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Report B-1375. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University System,        Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. 16 p.  [4565] 23.  Judd, B. Ira. 1962. Principal forage plants of southwestern ranges. Stn.        Pap. No. 69. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 93 p.        [1302] 24.  Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock,        Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2d ed. Berkeley, CA: University of        California Press. 1085 p.  [6563] 25.  Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation        of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York:        American Geographical Society. 77 p.  [1384] 26.  Lyon, L. Jack; Stickney, Peter F. 1976. Early vegetal succession        following large northern Rocky Mountain wildfires. In: Proceedings, Tall        Timbers fire ecology conference and Intermountain Fire Research Council        fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No.        14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 355-373.  [1496] 27.  Martin, Alexander C.; Zim, Herbert S.; Nelson, Arnold L. 1951. American        wildlife and plants. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 500 p.        [4021] 28.  Medina, Alvin L. 1986. Riparian plant communities of the Fort Bayard        watershed in southwestern New Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist. 31(3):        345-359.  [1629] 29.  Medina, Alvin L. 1987. Woodland communities and soils of Fort Bayard,        southwestern New Mexico. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of        Science. 21: 99-112.  [3978] 30.  Moir, W. H.; Carleton, J. O. 1987. Classification of pinyon-juniper        (p-j) sites on National Forests in the Southwest. In: Everett, Richard        L., compiler. Proceedings--pinyon-juniper conference; 1986 January        13-16; Reno, NV. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-215. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 216-226.        [6852] 31.  Pieper, Rex D. 1970. Species utilization and botanical composition of        cattle diets on pinyon-juniper grassland. Bulletin 566. Las Cruces, NM:        New Mexico State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 16 p.        [4519] 32.  Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant        geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p.  [2843] 33.  Reynolds, Hudson G. 1964. Elk and deer habitat use of a pinyon-juniper        woodland in southern New Mexico. In: Trefethen, James B., ed.        Transactions, 29th North American wildlife and natural resources        conference; 1964 March 9-11; Las Vegas, NV. Washington, DC: Wildlife        Management Institute: 438-444.  [10733] 34.  Schmidt, Harold. 1980. Improving shinoak range with prescribed fire. In:        White, Larry D., ed. Prescribed range burning in the Edwards Plateau of        Texas: Proceedings of a symposium; 1980 October 23; Junction, TX.        College Station, TX: Texas Agricultural Extension Service, The Texas A&M        University System: 45-47.  [11432] 35.  Scifres, C. J. 1980. Fire and range vegetation of the Rio Grande Plains.        In: White, Larry D., ed. Prescribed range burning in the Rio Grande        Plains of Texas: Proceedings of a symposium; 1979 November 7; Carrizo        Springs, TX. College Station, TX: The Texas A&M University System, Texas        Agricultural Extension Service: 6-11.  [11458] 36.  Scifres, C. J.; Bovey, R. W.; Fisher, C. E.; Baur, J. R. 1973. Chemical        control of mesquite. In: Mesquite: Growth and development, management,        economics, control, uses. Research Monograph 1. 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Manipulating range vegetation with prescribed        fire. In: White, Larry D., ed. Prescribed range burning in the Edwards        Plateau of Texas: Proceedings of a symposium; 1980 October 23; Junction,        TX. College Station, TX: Texas Agricultural Extension Service, The Texas        A&M University System: 27-44.  [11431] 41.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982.        National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names.        SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p.  [11573] 42.  Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry        C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo,        UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p.  [2944] 43.  Wink, Robert L.; Wright, Henry  A. 1973. Effects of fire on an ashe        juniper community. Journal of Range Management. 26(5): 326-329.  [2582] 44.  Wright, Henry A. 1974. 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