Determine strategies for efficient early detection of invasive plants after prescribed fire

Fire played an important role in shaping ponderosa pine forests of South Dakota’s Black Hills. Consequently, prescribed fire is an important management tool in restoring and maintaining the structure of these forests after nearly a century of fire suppression.  Invasive plant species like Canada thistle ( Cirsium arvense) and common mullein ( Verbascum thapsus) are sometimes associated with post-fire landscapes, however, so this project sought to determine strategies to reduce the chances of post-fire invasive species outbreaks.  Partnering with the National Park Service’s Northern Great Plains Fire Management Office, this project tracked target invasive plants immediately before to two years after prescribed fires at Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument.  The results suggest that pre-fire control of problem species and moderating fire intensity are two strategies for limiting invasive species outbreaks in post-prescribed-fire forest landscapes in this region.

Principal Investigator(s):

Amy Symstad

Wesley E Newton

Project Status:



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