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Tuesday, February 7 • 9:40am - 10:00am
Symposia Session - S6: Impact of Prescribed and Wild Fires on the Great Plains. A Vanishing Grassland Biome: Consequences and Innovative Solutions

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AUTHORS: Dirac Twidwell, University of Nebraska

ABSTRACT: Long-term and tightly coupled interactions among climate, vegetation, fire, herbivores, and humans are responsible for the creation and maintenance of the grasslands that typify the Great Plains biome, but changes to these interactions are leading to a biome-level shift from grassland to woodland. Many woody plant species in the Great Plains have the propensity to resprout following defoliation. However, the biome shift from grassland to woodland is primarily associated with the encroachment of two non-resprouting, fire-sensitive trees, Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) and Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana). I discuss the profound impacts of Juniperus invasion to biodiversity and other ecosystem services valued in the Great Plains. I then discuss the problems of scale that are preventing contemporary management approaches from successfully managing Juniperus invasions, and the innovative solutions that are emerging to conserve remaining grasslands and to restore those grasslands that have been converted to Juniperus woodland.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 9:40am - 10:00am CST
Arbor I/II