Tag Archives: burning

Difficult Decisions – Growing Season Fires and Other Prairie Management Choices

Would you purposefully destroy the nest of a wild turkey or grasshopper sparrow?  Of course not.  But what if that destruction was a consequence of a land management action that benefits the larger prairie community?  That was the situation we were faced with last week as we mulled … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Insects, Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Blowing Against the Wind?

As I mentioned last week, I recently spent a couple days helping our land manager, Nelson Winkel, pull garlic mustard at our Rulo Bluffs Preserve in southeast Nebraska.  The invasive species has just started to invade our property within the last several years.  We’ve heard … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Insects, Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Tuning Into Fire Frequency

HOW OFTEN SHOULD PRAIRIES BE BURNED? It’s a question prairie ecologists and managers have been wrestling with for many years.  Unfortunately, research on the impacts of fire management is somewhat limited and often contradictory.  Much of the best research has … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Insects, Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Should We Be Conducting Prescribed Fires During Drought?

As we enter a second year of drought in central Nebraska, I’m starting to hear discussions about whether or not it’s a good idea to conduct prescribed fires when conditions are so dry.  I have some ideas about this, but am curious … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Insects, Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Lessons From a Project to Improve Prairie Quality – Part 1: Patch-Burn Grazing, Plant Diversity, and Butterflies

We recently completed a large multi-year restoration and management project at our Platte River Prairies.  Our specific objectives were to improve habitat quality for various at-risk prairie species and evaluate the impacts of our management on at-risk butterflies – particularly … Continue reading

Posted in Prairie Animals, Prairie Insects, Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Testing Assumptions – The Milkweed Seed Fiasco

A few months ago, I mentioned a technique that we use to clean milkweed seeds after harvest.  We spread the fluffy seeds out on a concrete floor and light the thin pile on fire, burning the fluff off the seeds.  … Continue reading

Posted in General, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

If You Play With Fire…

There’s nothing playful about safe and effective prescribed burning.  Too many things can go wrong to take it lightly.  Sometimes, I think people see prescribed fire as something that needs to be done to maintain prairies, but they can’t necessarily point … Continue reading

Posted in General, Prairie Management, Prairie Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The Myth of Self-Sustaining Prairies

Here’s a question I get asked occasionally:  “At what point will my prairie become self-sustaining?” There are lots of ways “self-sustaining” can be defined, of course, but usually the person is hoping that at some point they can just step back … Continue reading

Posted in General, Prairie Insects, Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Plants, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Savanna and Woodland Burning at the Rulo Bluffs Preserve

The Nature Conservancy’s Rulo Bluffs Preserve is one of the highest quality woodland/savanna habitats in Nebraska. Located at the very southeastern corner of the state, the 444 acre site has very steep topography, small prairies on the ridge tops, and … Continue reading

Posted in General, Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Using Defoliation of Dominant Grasses to Increase Prairie Plant Diversity

 In many prairies, the primary suppressors of plant diversity are dominant grasses – both native and non-native.  These grasses, left unchecked, can monopolize light, moisture, and nutrients to the point that few other plant species can coexist with them.  I’m … Continue reading

Posted in General, Prairie Management, Prairie Plants, Prairie Restoration/Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments