Bison use of fire-managed remnant prairies
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Mario E. Biondini; Allen A. Steuter; Robert G. Hamilton
Publication Year: 1999

Cataloging Information

  • Ambrosia
  • Ammodramus henslowii
  • Andropogon gerardii
  • Bartramia longicauda
  • bison
  • Bison bison
  • Calamovilfa longifolia
  • cavity nesting birds
  • distribution
  • fire adaptations
  • fire exclusion
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • forage
  • forbs
  • grasses
  • grasslands
  • grazing
  • grazing pattern
  • Great Plains
  • habits and behavior
  • herbivory
  • livestock
  • mixed prairie
  • Nebraska
  • nesting
  • Oklahoma
  • patch burn grazing
  • population density
  • prairie
  • pyric herbivory
  • range management
  • range site
  • reproduction
  • sandhills
  • savannas
  • Schizachyrium scoparium
  • season of fire
  • statistical analysis
  • tallgrass prairie
  • Tympanuchus cupido
  • wildlife habitat management
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 10693
Tall Timbers Record Number: 11967
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-J
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


This study was designed to: 1) compare the landscape distribution patterns of bison on fire-managed prairie remnants in the tallgrass (Oklahoma), and mixed prairie (Nebraska); and 2) identify the extent to which fire and range site [topoedaphic classification of the landscape] affect bison distribution patterns. This research was conducted at 2 sites: the Niobrara Valley Preserve (1990-1996), and the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve (1993-1996). At both preserves, bison selected burned areas during the growing season for 1-3 years and mostly avoided old burns and unburned areas. There was an interaction between fire and range site in selection patterns. In the absence of fire, bison mostly avoided both the Choppy Sand range sites at the Niobrara Valley Preserve and Loamy Prairie range sites at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. When they were burned, however, these sites were highly selected. The main difference in bison selection patterns between the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and the Niobrara Valley Preserve was observed during the dormant season. In the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, burned sites continue to be preferred during the dormant period for an average of 2 years while in the Niobrara Valley Preserve selections were random. These differences can be explained by 2 mechanisms: the fall and winter re-growth of forage at the more southern latitude and the significant physiognomic changes that fire can cause in tall grass prairies. Our study documents a continuing interaction between the ecological processes of the fire regime and bison distribution and abundance within 2 of the major prairie landscapes of the Great Plains, and provides critical details for understanding this relationships.

Online Link(s):
Biondini, Mario E.; Steuter, Allen A.; Hamilton, Robert G. 1999. Bison use of fire-managed remnant prairies. Journal of Range Management 52(5):454-461.