Differential Effects of Hay-Mowing and Fire in Tallgrass Prairie: A Case Study in Southern Wisconsin

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Historically, human-ignited fires were responsible for the extensive tallgrass ecosystems found east of the Mississippi River. More recently, fire was been the single best tool for restoring and conserving tallgrass prairie communities. Mowing is an often recommended substitute for fire, although there has been little evaluation of how well mowing mimics fire. In 2005 we re-sampled a tallgrass prairie remnant in southern Wisconsin that had been originally sampled in the 1940s and had been re-sampled in the 1970s, using 2 m x 2 m permanently located plots. Max Partch conducted the first two studies using 180 plots. In 2005 we re-sampled 114 of those plots; skipping those located in a flood plane, which is now dominated by Phalaris arundinacea and other invasive species.


Presented at the 93rd Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, WI.

Presentation Number PS 59-81.

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