Griffith Prairie – A short pictorial of post-prescribed fire re-growth

With a colder than normal spring here this year, post-burn recovery at Griffith Prairie has slowed a little compared to last, but that’s okay.  The temperatures have warmed lately (and then cooled off again), some decent rains have fallen, summer seems to be trickling in, and now green hues to rival Ireland have graced the prairies in these loess bluffs.

As a general rule, the lower and flatter areas will green up faster than the slopes and hilltops.  The slopes receive less precipitation infiltration due to more overland flow (runoff) than the flat ground, and the hilltops have a much harsher microclimate; namely more wind-induced evaporation and erosion, as well as increased solar radiation, which augments evapotranspiration and lowers soil moisture.  But eventually it all turns green, lest the area falls back into another drought.

For those who may be wondering if fire (prescribed or wild) in grasslands contributes to climate change in any way, read here.

The burn consumed roughly 90%+ of all the available fuel.
Vegetative growth 2 weeks after the burn.  Perennial grasses and forbs will re-sprout from the root crowns, while the annuals will work hard to colonize the newly opened space and, in some areas, the fresh bare soil.
4 weeks post-burn
4 weeks post-burn
8 weeks post-burn
8 weeks post-burn

Author: J. Crumpler

Grasslands ecologist. Native seedsman.

All civil comments welcome.

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