The Effects Of Prescribed Burning On Browse, Forbs And Mast In A Texas Live Oak Savannah

An isolated area of approximately 2,025 ha of live oak (Quercus virginiana) savannah was experimentally burned during a 2 year study on the Texas Coastal Plain. Two fall burns (October 1974 and 1975) and a spring burn (March 1975) were conducted, one on each of 3 separate areas of approximately equal size. Increased vegetative pro· duction on fall-burned areas was primarily due to a positive response of forbs. Grass production was increased only on the spring-burned area druing the second year postburn. Live oak rootcrown resprouts, following topkill, on all burned areas resulted in significant (P < 0.05~ increases in the density of stems. However, live oak topgrowth production was significantly (P < 0.05) increased only on the spring-burned area. Mast production was lower on live oak regrowth in the fall·burned areas than on small, unburned live oak bruw.. Mast production on live oak regrowth in the spring-burned area was virtually non-existent during the first year postburn. Nutritive quality of browse generally was improved for both years following burning. Crude protein levels were significantly (P < 0.1) higher on the burned area throughout the first year postburn, but not the second year. Calcium:phosphorus ratios in browse were improved by burning in the first year postburn generally because of significantly (P < 0.1) higher phosphorus level. Calcium levels generally were not significantly (P > 0.1) different. There were no sig· nificant (P > 0.1) differences in crude protein, calcium, and phosphorus levels in forbs from the burned and unburned areas.

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