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Nicole Shaw (Rogers)

1997 Research


Abstract: The effect of Fire on the Density and Height of Flowering Plants at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge
Authors: Nicole R. Rodgers, Steven J. Stein, and Lisa D. Holmes
Mentor: Dr. Steve Stein, Biology

After nearly a century of fire suppression in the western United Sates, fire is now being reintroduced as a management tool in many areas. This study examined the effect of fire on several flowering plant species found in ponderosa pine communities of Eastern Washington. During the fall of 1996 a prescribed burn was conducted at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge. The following summer 60 1m by 2m plots were randomly placed within the burned area and an adjacent unburned area. The number of individual plants and their heights were recorded for eighteen flowering plant species. 8 species had significantly greater populations in the fire plots while 6 species had significantly greater populations in the non-fire pots. However, only 3 species had significantly greater average heights in the non-fire plots. Our results suggest that fire suppression has probably dramatically changed plant community structure in areas that have experienced frequent fires in the past.

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