Managing Fuels While Enhancing Prairie Chicken Habitat
Principal Investigator(s):
  • R. Dwayne Elmore
    Oklahoma State University, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
Co-Principal Investigator(s):
  • Samuel D. Fuhlendorf
    Oklahoma State University
  • Torre J. Hovick
    North Dakota State University
  • Eric T. Thacker
    Utah State University
  • Dirac Twidwell
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Completion Date: July 19, 2017

Cataloging Information

  • Attwater's prairie chicken
  • fuels treatments
  • grazing
  • Kansas
  • lesser prairie-chicken
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
JFSP Project Number(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 4, 2017
FRAMES Record Number: 24482


The proposed project addresses Task Statement 6: Compatibility of fire, fuels and rehabilitation treatments with T&E gallinaceous birds of JFSP Project Announcement FA-FON0013-0001. Our proposal targets multiple research needs that are important to managers and directly addresses questions posed in this task statement: 1) We focus on two of the most imperiled prairie grouse species on JFSs species list in the task statement, the lesser prairie chicken and Attwaters prairie chicken. 2) We study landscape scale fuels treatments across a broad geographic range that includes six research sites, four states (KS, NM, OK, TX), three plant communities, and five natural resource agencies. 3) We evaluate the impact of two fuels management treatments on prairie chicken habitat prescribed fire followed by grazing deferment, which is set to become the dominant fuels reduction treatment on public lands in the southern Great Plains, and patch-burning, which creates a fire-grazing interaction that mimics the historical processes that contributed to heterogeneity in grassland structure and function. 4) We evaluate and compare changes in fire suppression capabilities over time for each of our treatments (fire alone vs. fire-grazing interaction). 5) We hypothesize patch-burning will be more effective as both a fuels reduction treatment and a conservation strategy for prairie chickens. 6) Agency managers have provided extensive input in this proposal to ensure our research objectives target the most pressing issues related to wildfire, fuels management, and prairie chicken conservation. We will continue to work directly with these agency members to provide long-term, on-site exhibits and demonstration tours that educate the general public, fuels managers, and conservation practitioners on our research findings. 7) The proposed research contributes to the mission of the JFSP Great Plains regional fire consortium. We will work with the Great Plains regional consortium to disseminate our research findings and outreach material to the fire science and management community. The proposed project tests the potential for the fire and grazing interaction to serve as a management strategy that benefits both fuels reduction and prairie-chicken habitat objectives. We will first initiate landscape-scale field experiments across four states in the southern Great Plains to collect data on how fuel properties and prairie-chicken habitat characteristics respond to patch-burning (i.e. fire and grazing) and prescribed fire alone (i.e. fire followed by grazing deferment).