Abstract - Final Report Wind Cave National Park Grassland Ecology

Gartner, F.R. 1973. Final Report Wind Cave National Park Grassland Ecology. NPS CONTRACT #PX6000-3-0981. 29 p.


Prescribed burning was used to reduce herbaceous fuels and develop a fire break in the eastern portion of Wind Cave National Park. Burning was conducted in fall 1973 and winter and spring 1974. The purpose was to provide a control line for wildfires which might emanate from within the Park in order to afford protection for provate lands joining the Park.

The completed fire break was approximately 100 feet wide and five miles long and was adjacent to routes 5 and 6 (Photo 68). Burning began in early setpember 1973 and was completed May 1, 1974. Additionally, an area comprising about 38 acres adjacent to route 6 was burned on Februaru 15, 1974 (Photos 49 to 52).

Three study areas, which represented three different grassland communities that occur along routes 5 and 6, were selected in late summer 1973 for intensive studies (Fig 1). Study areaas were described in teh Interim Progress Report submitted December 6, 1973 and are included in Appendix A of this report. The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of burning at different sasons on vegetation composition and yeields, on soil parameters, and on subsequent grazing use by native herbivores.

Reported herein are the measurements and observations taken during the period September 1, 1973 to November 1, 1974. Conclusions drawn from these initial pilot studies will, hopefully, be useful for designing more comprehensive studies on larger grassland and forest-grassland areas within the Park.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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