Entries in grazing (2)


Effects of prairie restoration on butterfly communities

Effects of prairie restoration on butterfly communities


This study looked at the butterfly communities found in restored prairie sites in the Loess Hills in Iowa. Restoration sites were managed with prescribed fire, grazing, and a combination of fire and grazing.

Implications for managers:

  • There is not a single best managementpractice for butterfly communities
  • Knowledge of species present on site – and potential positive and negative responses – can help restoration planning
  • Using a variety of management practices may be best way to increase species richness and abundance

For a summary of the study's results and implications for management, you can download a PDF version of the research brief "Effects of prairie restoration on butterfly communities."

The original paper is:

Jennifer A. Vogel, Diane M. Debinski, Rolf R. Koford, and James R. Miller. 2007. Butterfly responses to prairie restoration through fire and grazing. Biological Conservation 140:78-90


How does patch burn grazing affect bird diversity in highly-fragmented landscapes?

The management treatments used in this study were motivated by research that has shown an increase in the population size and diversity of grassland bird species when a fire-grazing interaction is used in the western tallgrass prairie. The research team compared three management strategies and their effect on grassland bird species richness and density in fragmented landscapes.


For a summary of the study's results and implications for management, you can view or download a PDF version of "Using fire and grazing to promote bird diversity."

Management Implications 

  • Patch-burn grazing may effectively create variable forage height and maturity that can benefit grassland bird species though stocking rates must be carefully determined to ensure sufficient residual biomass
  • The necessary low stocking rate makes this approach more appropriate on public lands and private recreational lands where profit from livestock is not the main driver
  • Grassland bird response to management of grassland structure may remain limited due to factors in the surrounding landscape

The original paper was published in the open access journal Ecosphere.

Finn C. Pillsbury, James R. Miller, Diane M. Debinski, and David M. Engle. 2011. Another tool in the toolbox? Using fire and grazing to promote bird diversity in highly fragmented landscapes. Ecosphere 2(3): article 28.