Date of Graduation

Fall 2009


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Alexander Wait


This study was designed to monitor changes in plant diversity in Missouri Ozark glades where eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) was cut with the use of a chainsaw, but not removed, and the glade was subsequently burned. Glades in Missouri are rocky openings within forested habitats characterized by thin nutrient-poor soil, exposed bedrock, and are often dominated by warm season grasses, herbaceous dicots, and stunted trees and shrubs adapted to dry environments. As a result of fire suppression, glades have become overgrown with undesirable plants such as the eastern red cedar tree. Undesirable plants are those plants found outside their home range or habitat, or those species that are not deemed to promote desirable plant diversity and ecosystem function. For this study eight glades were sampled in the White River Hills of the Ozark Highlands: two control glades, two glades clear cut in 2004 and burned in 2005, two glades clear cut in 2005 and burned in 2006, and two glades clear cut in 2006 and burned in 2007. Five sets of 50m paired transects were used to sample the richness, cover, and ground cover characteristics of the glades. Sampling occurred during June 2007 and again during August 2007; this time frame was predetermined to capture all plants emerging in 2007. The results, following one year of burning, indicate that some glades relative to the control glades had increased diversity; also, undesirable plants were reduced in all managed glades relative to control glades. My study suggests that clear cutting and prescribed burning do have merit in managing glade habitat. More evidence from expanded and repeated monitoring is needed to support this.


glades, prescribed burning, undesirable plants, eastern red cedar, Shannon diversity index

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© Alex Ross Threlkeld

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