The effect of prescribed fire and elevation on <em>Ribes missouriensis</em> and <em>Celtis occidentalis</em>

  • A. Penner Grinnell College
  • C. Waickman Grinnell College
  • E. Yoon Grinnell College


Fire and elevation in oak forests play an important role in competition between shrubs and saplings, as awell as in processes of succession. We measure the effects of prescribed fire and elevation on abundance, height, stem width, and stem count of the shrub Ribes missouriensis and the saplings of the tree Celtis occidentalis in 10 burned and 9 unburned experimental forest plots in the oak hickory forest at the Conard Environmental Research Area near Kellogg, Iowa. Between 5 October 2009 and 4 November 2009, we counted the total number of plants of both species between .2 and 2 meters in height and measured height and stem width of three randomly selected individuals of both species in each plot. A significantly lower abundance of both species was found in burned plots. We also found significantly smaller heights and stem widths for C. occidentalis and stem count for R. missouriensis. C. occidentalis and elevation were significantly positively correlated, while R. missouriensis and elevation were significantly negatively correlated. The results of our study suggest that late successional oak forests will become dominated by shade-tolerant species such as C. occidentalis in the absence of fire disturbances. Our results suggest that elevation significantly affects the success of certain oak forest plant species, but further research is necessary to conclusively determine what causes these patterns.
How to Cite
PENNER, A.; WAICKMAN, C.; YOON, E.. The effect of prescribed fire and elevation on Ribes missouriensis and Celtis occidentalis. Tillers, [S.l.], v. 6, p. 11-16, june 2012. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 12 oct. 2021.