Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
62. Duever, M. J., J. E. Carlson, J. F. Meeder, L. C. Duever, L. H. Gunderson, L. A. Riopelle, T. R. Alexander, R. L. Myers, and D. P. Spangler. 1986. The Big Cypress National Preserve, 2nd printing. Nat. Audubon Soc. Res. Rep. 8. 455 PP.
This monograph reviews all aspects of the ecology of Big Cypress National Preserve through July 1979. Historic and present fire patterns; the effects of fire upon plants, animals, and the atmosphere; fire management; prescribed burning; wildfires; fire prevention; and coordination of fire programs are addressed. Fire has been an important factor in the evolution and maintenance of Preserve vegetation. The greatest number of fires are in the mixed grass fuel type found mostly in the marshes and wet prairies. If fire burns to rock or mineral soil, the elevation of the site, its hydroperiod, soil type, and thus its vegetation are drastically altered. Fires are not common in undrained swamps, but cypress swamps are fire-adapted ecosystems that require a low but regular fire frequency to prevent succession to mixed swamp forests and eventually hydric hammocks. Cypress may not regain vigor for years following a fire, but they are deep-rooted and coppice readily, so are not destroyed except by deep muck fires. Logged cypress communities become monospecific coastal plain willow or Carolina ash forests after severe fire. Fire is a regular occurrence in prairies, marshes, and sloughs and prevents invasion of trees and shrubs, but little else is known of fire effects in these habitats with the exception of the sawgrass marshes characteristic of the Everglades. Mangroves burn rarely, but can recover from fire. Little is known of fire in salt marshes. [K-L-S]