Effects of annual fire on the litter fauna populations and soil compositions of an upland white-oak forest

  • K. Vincent Grinnell College
  • K. Moening Grinnell College
  • H. Colter Grinnell College

Abstract

Studies have shown that arthropod populations require 2-3 years to recover from forest fires. However, many traditional forest management practices include annual prescribed burns. Our study sampled thelitter-dwelling organisms in the annually-burned upland white-oak forest at CERA to see if theirpopulations are negatively affected by annual fire. In addition, we sampled the soil moisture and carbon content as well as litter mass to determine relationships between fire, litter, litter fauna, and soil. We foundthat overall neither the populations nor the physical aspects of the soil and litter varied significantly between treatments. We did find some meaningful differences and some trends in our data. For example, ant abundance and order richness were significantly higher in unburned plots and there was an overall trend of higher litter-fauna abundance in unburned plots. However, these results were not enough to demonstrate a negative effect of annual fire. We still suggest, based on other studies and research, that forest management include fire every 2-3 years rather than every year to allow populations to recover. Or, rather than changing the fire frequency, forest management could employ a patchwork burning pattern to aid quick litter fauna recovery in the burned areas.
Published
2012-06-04
How to Cite
VINCENT, K.; MOENING, K.; COLTER, H.. Effects of annual fire on the litter fauna populations and soil compositions of an upland white-oak forest. Tillers, [S.l.], v. 6, p. 17-20, june 2012. Available at: <https://ojs.grinnell.edu/index.php/tillers/article/view/49>. Date accessed: 24 nov. 2017.
Section
Articles