Natural Resources, School of

 

Date of this Version

2014

Citation

GPE publication 2014‐1, Great Plains Fire Science Exchange

Abstract

Our research indicated that Indian plantain is a tallgrass prairie forb that experiences a temporary period of competitive release as a result of the fire‐grazing interaction found in patch burn grazing systems. Additional research is needed to determine what other species of perennial forbs exhibit this phenomena and in what other locations. Conservationists are especially interested in whether this is the case for what are termed “conservative” species of forbs, species that aren’t typically found in locations that have a long history of heavy grazing or other type of land use that produces vegetation characterized by only the hardiest species. In the field of range management, these species are often considered “decreaser” species because they tend to decrease with sustained heavy grazing, or “ice cream” species because they tend to be species cattle preferentially seek out for consumption. If conservative forbs are able to persist with patch burn grazing, and even thrive during temporary periods of competitive release, then patch burn grazing may represent a tool conservationists and livestock producers can use to achieve both conservation and economic objectives on working landscapes.