Date of Graduation

Fall 2012

Degree

Master of Science in Biology

Department

Biology

Committee Chair

Alexander Wait

Keywords

fire, species richness, PAR transmittance, canopy cover, densiometer

Subject Categories

Biology

Abstract

Prescribed fire is a tool used to manage oak-hickory woodlands for wildlife habitat. This study examined how prescribed fire affected woodland structure and how this structure alters transmittance of light within Drury-Mincy Conservation Area, (Taney County, Missouri). Sampling occurred in twenty 0.1 ha plots established in 2007. Plots represented: unburned degraded woodlands that were not burned since the mid twentieth century (n = 6), recently burned degraded woodlands that were prescribed fire in 2000, 2003, and 2008 (n = 6), and open woodlands that have been burned since the 1980s and were used as a "reference” (n = 8). Principal component analysis indicated that most of the variance in these sample woodland areas was accounted for by the proportion of understory graminoids, understory species richness, and slope. There was a significant difference in light levels between burned and unburned woodlands. This study also examined if canopy closure provides a representative measure of the light available to understory plant populations because canopy closure measured with a concave spherical densiometer is often used as a surrogate for light measures. There was a significant linear relationship between canopy closure and transmittance of photosynthetically active radiation. In addition, both of these variables were positively correlated with species richness and Shannon's diversity index.

Copyright

© Rebecca Gehringer

Campus Only

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