Survival of the endangered Pima pineapple cactus: Does clearing before prescribed fire alter survival postfire?

Southwestern Naturalist
By: , and 

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Abstract

Federal land managers and ranchers often use prescribed fire as a tool to reduce invading woody plants within desert grasslands of the arid southwestern United States. Managers must evaluate the threat of the burn toward the health and survival of plants of concern including how preemptive clearing before prescribed fire might benefit these species. One example is the endangered Pima pineapple cactus (Coryphantha scheeri var. robustispina), a small hemispheric cactus of desert scrublands and grasslands of south-central Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico. In 2014, we examined survival of Pima pineapple cactus documented in 2009 or 2010 within grasslands of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona. Of the 72 sites observed, 35 had no burn after documentation and 37 experienced prescribed fire. Refuge staff removed vegetation between 0.3 and 3.0 m from the cactus preburn. We found that Pima pineapple cacti in areas subjected to prescribed fire and with preemptive clearing had the same survival statistically as cacti from sites that were not burned.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Survival of the endangered Pima pineapple cactus: Does clearing before prescribed fire alter survival postfire?
Series title Southwestern Naturalist
DOI 10.1894/0038-4909-62.3.200
Volume 62
Issue 3
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Southwestern Association of Naturalists
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 7 p.
First page 200
Last page 206
Country United States
State Arizona
Other Geospatial Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge