Shrub-steppe early succession following juniper cutting and prescribed fire

  • Published source details Bates J.D., Davies K.W. & Sharp R.N. (2011) Shrub-steppe early succession following juniper cutting and prescribed fire. Environmental Management, 47, 468-481.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cut trees and use prescribed burning

Action Link
Shrubland and Heathland Conservation
  1. Cut trees and use prescribed burning

    A replicated, randomized, controlled, before-and-after trial in 2002–2006 in two sagebrush steppe sites in Idaho, USA (Bates et al. 2011) found that cutting of western juniper Juniperus occidentalis followed by prescribed burning had no effect on the cover of most shrubs, but increased cover of herbaceous species. After three years, big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata, mountain snowberry Symphoricarpos oreophilus, and gray rabbitbush Ericameria nauseosa cover was not significantly different between areas that had been cut and burned and unburned, uncut areas (data reported as model results). Cover of snowbrush Ceanothus velutinus was higher in cut and burned areas than in unburned, uncut areas (data reported as model results). Cutting and burning increased herb cover (45% cover) relative to uncut, unburned areas (18% cover). Cutting and burning of western juniper trees reduced their numbers from 424 trees/ha to 2 trees/ha after 3 years. Trees were cut and burned in forty 1 ha plots with a further twenty 1 ha plots left uncut and unburnt. Four 6 x 50 m transects located on each 1 ha plot were surveyed to estimate western juniper numbers. Four 2 x 50 m transects/plot were used to survey shrub cover. To survey herbaceous cover 0.2 m2 quadrats were placed every 2 m along transect lines.

    (Summarised by: Phil Martin)

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