Burned Area Recoveries

by Carl Strang

The extensive areas at Mayslake Forest Preserve that received controlled burns this spring are responding vigorously, as rains and warming temperatures have supported rapid plant growth.

The fire killed the smooth sumac stems, but this is a fire-adapted species of the prairies, and new shoots are rising.

The fire killed the smooth sumac stems, but this is a fire-adapted species of the prairies, and new shoots are rising.

Though the dried herbaceous tops burned thoroughly, the wooded and wetland edges of prairies and meadows, as well as areas dense with shrubs, were less affected.

The outer, peripheral ranks of woody stems were killed, but the denser central stands survived.

The outer, peripheral ranks of woody stems were killed, but the denser central stands survived.

Of course my particular interest is in how the singing insects fared. Last week I was able to make early observations of green-striped grasshoppers, which were nymphs at the time of the burn. While it was clear that grasshoppers were few in the centers of larger burned areas, there were occasional individuals even there. Smaller areas, and edges of larger burn zones, had good numbers of grasshoppers, and so there are plenty to repopulate the prairies and meadows.

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1 Comment

  1. Lisa Rainsong said,

    May 28, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I am very interested in all of this and look forward to your observations throughout the summer!


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