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Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems
Contact Information
  • Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems
  • 333 Broadway SE. Suite 115
  • Albuquerque, NM 87102-3497
  • 505-724-3660
  • 505-724-3688 (fax)
You are here: Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems / Research by Project / Season and Fire in Shortgrass Steppe

Long-term Effects of Season and Frequency of Fire in Shortgrass Steppe

Project Title

Long-term Effects of Season and Frequency of Fire in Shortgrass Steppe of the Southern Great Plains

Abstract

Fire is a natural grassland disturbance that affects a variety of ecosystem factors, including nutrient cycling, species diversity, and population and community dynamics. The reestablishment of periodic fire is fundamental to the ecological restoration of grasslands in the southwestern United States. However, prior to reintroducing large-scale fire as a management tool, the appropriate fire season, frequency, and fire effects on ecosystem components need to be determined. This experimental research, located on the Kiowa National Grassland in northeastern New Mexico, is a long-term, 18-year study examining effects of fire in the growing vs. dormant season at return intervals of 3, 6 and 9 years on shortgrass steppe. The research examines the response of multiple ecosystem components to fire, including soil and plant nutrient cycling, and small mammal and invertebrate community structure. The study is in its 14th year.

Selected Publications

Shortgrass steppe experimental fire research site
Shortgrass steppe experimental fire research site, northeastern New Mexico, southern Great Plains

GSD Principal Investigators

Ford, Paulette    Research Ecologist    505-724-3670

Cooperators and Sponsors

Kiowa National Grassland
University of New Mexico Department of Biology
University of New Mexico Museum of Southwestern Biology
USDA Forest Service Cibola National Forest

Related Links

Ecosystem Services from National Grasslands