• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Abstract - Effect of Fires on Woody Vegetation in the Pine-grassland Ecotone of the Southern Black Hills

Bock, Jane H. and Bock, Carl E. 1984. Effect of Fires on Woody Vegetation in the Pine-grassland Ecotone of the Southern Black Hills. American Midlands Naturalist 112. pp. 35-42.

Abstract

This paper presents a 3-year study (1979-1981) on the effects of prescribed burning of ponderosa pine forests at Wind Cave National Park, in the southern Black Hills, South Dakota. The fires were largely restricted to surface fuels and forest understory vegetation. Effects upon understory shrubs and deciduous trees were modest. In eight study plots, two cool-season (autumn and spring) fires consistently reduced densities of Ribes spp. and stimulated Amorpha canescens Pursh., while other shrubs were unaffected. These burns significantly reduced the density of immature and smaller mature ponderosa pines. The reductions were consistent across all eight study plots. By contrast, an autumn (1974) crown fire, in ponderosa pine, killed pine of all sizes and most shrub species increased dramatically. We attribute these differences in postfire vegetation response to variable fire intensities.

Did You Know?

Natural Entrance of Wind Cave

Winds caused by changes in barometric pressure are what give Wind Cave its name. These winds have been measured at the cave's walk-in entrance at over 70 mph. The winds at the natural entrance of the cave attracted the attention of Native Americans and early settlers.