University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences
http://www.cbs.umn.edu/

Experiment 133

Fire Effects on Structure and Function of Oak Savanna/Woodlands

This study examines the effects of long-term prescribed burning treatments on vegetation structure and composition, productivity, and nutrient cycling in upland oak savanna and woodland vegetation. The basis for the study is an ongoing, experimental prescribed burning program begun in 1964 at Cedar Creek, and a similar program operating since 1962 on the adjacent Helen Allison Savanna property (owned by The Nature Conservancy). These prescribed burning programs are designed to subject upland oak communities (and some old fields) to different burn frequencies and patterns of burning, with the ultimate objectives of 1) restoring and maintaining the historically important savanna and open woodland vegetation, and 2) providing information about the effects of different burning patterns on vegetation structure and composition. This study addresses the latter of these two purposes and expands on it by also investigating possible influences of fire on resource availability (nutrients, water, and light) and net primary productivity. This study represents a continuation and expansion of experiments 015 and 094. This experiment was established in 1995 by the primary investigators Peter Reich, David Wedin, Sarah Hobbie, and Mark Davis.