Sunday, December 15, 2013

Reestablishing Fire Cycles in the Great Plains

Before Europeans arrived, fires routinely swept the Great Plains, rejuvenating grasses and suppressing trees spreading from the riparian areas that cross the region. Whether lightening caused or set by Native Americans, fire maintained the grasslands and provided lush grazing for bison. Europeans plowed the grasslands for crops and put out wildfires, disrupting natural fire regimes.

Today, land managers in the Great Plains are setting planned burns to reintroduce fire and reestablish fire cycles. I wrote a fact sheet about using planned burns for the Great Plains Fire Science Exchange (GPFSE).

The GPFSE increases understanding and improves management of fire in the Great Plains. This region stretches from Montana and North Dakota to central Texas. The Exchange is funded by the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP). The JFSP funds research on wildland fires needed by policy makers and land managers.

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