Response of Herbaceous Vegetation to Prescribed Burning in the Hill Country of Texas

Ann-Marie Hutcheson, John T. Baccus, Terry M. McClean, Paul J. Fonteyn


The use of prescribed burning to control shrub growth in range and grassland areas has increased in recent years. A study was conducted in an oak savanna to determine maximum temperatures reached during burning, the effect of fuel moisture and fuel on these temperatures, and the response of forbs and grasses. Maximum temperatures varied from 104 °F and 388 °F at the base of live and post oaks, respectively, to 412 °F in the grasslands surrounding the trees. Forb biomass increased dramatically in burn areas, whereas grass biomass decreased slightly in live oak areas and increased slightly in post oak areas. Standing dead biomass was 3-4 times greater in control plots than in burn plots.


prescribed burning; hill country; temperature; live oak (Quercus fusiformis); post oak (Quercus stellata); forbs; grasses

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