Date of this Version
Great Plains Fire Science Exchange, June 27, 2014
In this synthesis, we reviewed the scientific literature pertaining to the effects of fire on lesser prairie‐chickens and their habitat. Overall, research is generally lacking that directly assesses relationships among fire, both as a regime and a discrete event, to its effect on lesser prairie‐chicken behavior and habitat value. Yet, research has quantified the effects of fire on vegetation throughout the distribution of the lesser prairie‐chicken, which has been linked to known metrics of habitat value and broad landscape‐level habitat requirements.
To summarize the literature, lesser prairie‐chickens require broad landscapes of fire‐dependent grass‐shrub vegetation. Changes in the eco‐evolutionary fire regime and grazing regime of the southern Great Plains has contributed to extensive habitat loss as a result of woody encroachment and simplification of spatial and temporal variability in vegetation structure as a function of uniformity‐based management.