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Can burning benefit insects in isolated prairies?

The lack of long term data looking at how invertebrates respond to prescribed fire led Ron Panzer to conduct a six year study spanning three states. Invertebrates were grouped by their dependence on remnant prairie sites and populations tracked through multiple burns to determine rates of recovery. 

Implications for Management:

  • Annual fires may not allow a long enough recovery time for a minority subset of prairie insects
  • Burning every 2-3 years may balance concerns over insect recovery with other conservation goals (e.g., plants, birds)
  • Remnant dependent insects recover at the same rate as remnant independent insects

For a summary of the study's results and implications for management, you can view or download a PDF version of "Can burning benefit insects in isolated prairies?

This research brief for research managers summarizes the following peer-reviewed publication:

Ron Panzer. 2002. Compatibility of prescribed burning with the conservation of insects in small, isolated, prairie reserves. Conservation Biology 16:1296-1307.


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