Restoring Riparian Corridors with Fire: Effects on Soil and Vegetation

Blank, R.R., J.C. Chambers and D. Zamudio

Publication Date:

In many riparian corridors of the semi-arid west, stream incision has resulted in lowered water tables, basin big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata Nutt.) encroachment and the loss of the dominant herbaceous vegetation. To determine the potential for restoring basin big sagebrush-dominated riparian corridors to greater herbaceous cover, a fall prescribed burn on sites with relatively shallow (-153 to -267 cm) and deep (-268 to > -300 cm) water tables was conducted. The results indicate that burning alone is an appropriate restoration treatment for shallow water table sites because of minimal C and N loss and increased available nutrients for regrowth of understory herbaceous species. Deep water table sites require a burning prescription that minimizes fire severity because of higher potential C and N loss, and reseeding due to a lack of perennial understory herbaceous species and more xeric conditions.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Journal of Range Management