Is spring burning a viable management tool for species-rich grasslands?
2014 (English)In: Applied Vegetation Science, ISSN 1402-2001, E-ISSN 1654-109X, Vol. 17, no 3, 429-441 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The management of species-rich semi-natural grasslands, a fragmented and threatened vegetation type in Europe, involves costs. Mowing is expensive and grazing can be difficult to achieve and maintain for logistical reasons. Is annual spring burning, which is potentially cheaper than mowing and grazing, a viable management tool for species-rich grasslands?
Long-term field trials in 11 grasslands in southern Sweden.
We calculated the odds for a species being an indicator of good management, an indicator of poor management, or an indicator of nitrogen influence in spring-burned plots, grazed plots and annually mowed plots. Odds ratios contrasting spring-burned plots with grazed plots and spring-burned plots with mowed plots were subjected to meta-analyses in which we compared the odds ratios after 1, 8 and 14 spring burns. For a single trial, we also analysed data after 1, 8, 14, 28 and 39 spring burns.
Compared with mowed and grazed plots, the odds of the four different indicators of good management decreased in spring-burned plots, while the odds for the two indicators of poor management increased. There was no trend in the two indicators of excess nitrogen. Therefore, the conservation value of vegetation in spring-burned plots becomes reduced over time relative to traditional management.
Spring burning is not an appropriate long-term management method if the aim is to maintain the conservation value of the vegetation in traditionally managed semi-natural grasslands.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2014. Vol. 17, no 3, 429-441 p.
Fire; Grass; Grazing; Indicators;Meta-analysis; Mowing; Odds ratio; Semi-natural grassland, Sweden
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-109111DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12091ISI: 000337725300007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-109111DiVA: diva2:736888