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Post-fire vegetation communities in western Colorado

Author(s): M Nikki Grant-Hoffman, James Dollerschell
Year Published: 2019

Wildfire is a cause of disturbance on public lands, and post-fire treatments often include broadcast seeding of native and non-native seeds. We collected vegetation data from an area burned by a wildfire in western Colorado in 2012 and, where available,compared pre- and post-fire data. We sought to determine how dominant plant species responded to fire and to determine post-fire vegetation community dynamics as compared to a typical response as described in the floristic composition model. Seed mixes were chosen based on previously available vegetation and treatment data. We found that areas seeded with a native seed mix had increasing cover of native forbs, whereas areas seeded with a non-native mix did not. However, the cause of low forbs in areas seeded with non-natives is not clear. We also found several native plant species that recovered after the fire, while sagebrush was absent after fire. Surprisingly, cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L. [Poaceae]) frequency did not increase after fire in areas where pre- and post-fire data were available.

Citation: Grant-Hoffman MN, and Dollerschell J. 2019. Post-fire vegetation communities in western Colorado. Native plants journal 20 (3): p. 226-238.
Topic(s): Fire Ecology, Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Vegetation, Post-fire Management, Post-fire Rehabilitation, Seeding, Recovery after fire, Restoration
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 20877
Record updated: Mar 19, 2020