Abstract - Responses of Birds and Deer Mice to Prescribed Burning in Ponderosa Pine

Bock, Carl E. and Bock, Jane H. 1983. Responses of Birds and Deer Mice to Prescribed Burning in Ponderosa Pine. Journal of Wildlife Management 47.


Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest under natural conditions burn every 10 to 25 years (Weaver 1967, Wright 1978). Wild fires occured with about that frequency in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota between 1820 and 1910 (D. Shilts et al., unpubl. rep., U.S. Dep. Inter., Natl. Park Serv., Wind Cave Natl. Park, Hot Springs, S.D., 1980). Fire suppression efforts since then have resulted in growth of unnaturally dense "dog-hair" pine stands and invasion of pine into adjacent grasslands (Gartner and Thompson 1972, Progulske and Sowell 1974). However, fire effects on pine forests in the Black Hills and the associated wildlife have not been studied (Wright and Bailey 1982). Lyon et al. (1978) cited a critical need for descriptive studies of specific faunal responses to fire. Managers of pine forests in the Black Hills are interested in using prescribed fire to restore original pine-grasslands ecotones, to reduce fire hazard, and perhaps to improve wildlife habitat. We studied the short-term effects of 2 cool-season prescribed burns on vegetation, breeding birds, and the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) in pine forests and savannahs in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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