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After the FiresThe Ecology of Change in Yellowstone National Park$
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Linda L. Wallace

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100488

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100488.001.0001

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Fire Effects, Elk, and Ecosystem Resilience in Yellowstone's Sagebrush Grasslands

Fire Effects, Elk, and Ecosystem Resilience in Yellowstone's Sagebrush Grasslands

(p.102) Chapter 5 Fire Effects, Elk, and Ecosystem Resilience in Yellowstone's Sagebrush Grasslands
After the Fires

Benjamin F. Tracy

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the fire effects, Elk, and ecosystem resilience in Yellowstone's sagebrush grasslands. Most of the grasslands burned in 1988 represented important summer, transitional, and winter ranges for Yellowstone's Elk and Bison. Some post-fire hypotheses suggested that the 1988 fires might increase forage quantity and quality for Yellowstone's ungulates and possibly increase rates of nutrient cycling. Post-experimental fire sampling was designed to address both hypotheses generated from previous data and observations made immediately after the experimental burn. Data collected in 1991 showed that above ground net primary production, forage consumption by ungulates, and mineral nitrogen availability were higher in burned areas than in unburned areas. Herbaceous aboveground production rapidly returned to pre-burn levels after the experimental burn.

Keywords:   Yellowstone National Park, grasslands, nutrient cycling, forage, preborn levels

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