Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Biology and Microbiology

First Advisor

Gary E. Larson


A series of twenty, 0.04-ha circular macroplots was established on post-wildfire areas of West Camp Rapid National Guard Training Site during the 1994 growing season to characterize and compare the vegetation of three different fire regimes and to obtain a baseline for continued monitoring of plant successional changes. Area 1, represented by 10 macroplots, had no recent fire occurrence and consisted of Pinus ponderosa steppe vegetation. Areas 2 and 3, with 5 macroplots each, had been part of the pine steppe, but the pine overstory was consumed by a wildfire in late July, 1988. The burned area was aerially seeded with Trifolium hybridum and Festuca idahoensis in early September, 1988. Area 3 was distinguished from Area 2 by an additional burn caused by an accidental grass fire in mid-April, 1994. Within each macroplot, 40 randomly positioned microplots (20 cm X 50 cm) were used to obtain ocular estimates of canopy cover of ground-layer species under 0.5 min height. Frequency values of 27 common ground-layer species were compared across each fire regime using chi-square analysis. Ground-layer species with highest frequency values were as follows: Area 1 -- Sporobolus heterolepis (42.0%), Bouteloua curtipendula (34.8%), Pulsatilla patens (18.5%), Elymus elymoides (12.5%), and Schizachyrium scoparium (10.0%); Area 2 -- Poa pratensis (74.4%), Bouteloua curtipendula (50.0%), Trifolium hybridum (40.0%), Festuca idahoensis (36.1%), and Pascopyrum smithii (23.3%); Area 3 -- Poa pratensis (86.0%), Amorpha canescens (60.5%), Artemisia ludoviciana (49.0%), Pascopyrum smithii (49.0%), and Rosa arkansana (43.5%). Mean canopy cover values of 86 ground-layer species were analyzed using the FORTRAN program DECORANA (detrended correspondence analysis). DECORANA revealed possible successional vi relationships in both macroplot by macroplot and species by species ordinations. For macroplots in Area 1, total numbers and diameter at breast height (dbh) of ponderosa pine with dbh > 5 cm were recorded. Individuals with dbh < 5 cm and> 0.5 min height were also counted. Tree and sapling data showed a ponderosa pine density of 2030 trees/ha in Area 1, with 54% of individuals with dbh < 5 cm. Mean dbh of trees with> 5 cm dbh was 14.36 cm. Spherical densiometer measurements taken at each macroplot center in Area 1 revealed a mean overstory canopy cover of 52%.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ponderosa pine -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)
Forest fires -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)
Fire ecology -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)
Vegetation dynamics -- Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)




South Dakota State University



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In Copyright