Effects of Prescribed Burning on Gulf Cordgrass, Spartina spartinae (Trin.) Merr. ex Hitchc.

Author(s): Victoria L. Haynes, José S. Ávila Sánchez, Sandra Rideout–Hanzak, David B. Wester, and J. Alfonso Ortega–S.
Published: May 2018

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Gulf cordgrass is a perennial bunchgrass native to North and South America. In the United States and Mexico, it is found in coastal prairies and marshes along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and occasionally further inland in low–lying areas. In South America, it is found along the Caribbean coast and inland in Argentina and Paraguay. Gulf cordgrass can remain green year–round making it an important source of forage in dormant and dry seasons. However, it is coarse and unpalatable when mature. In this paper, we review effects of prescribed burning on gulf cordgrass forage production and quality as well as plant community dynamics. The literature indicates burning is an economical way to rejuvenate gulf cordgrass by improving its palatability and accessibility and by increasing its protein content. Grazing can be used after burning to prolong the effects of fire, preventing young forage from maturing quickly into senescence. Season of burning may be less important than rainfall received after burning for forage regrowth.

Suggested Citation

Haynes, V.L., J.S. Ávila Sánchez, S. Rideout–Hanzak, D.B. Wester, J.A. Ortega–S. 2018. Effects of prescribed burning on gulf cordgrass, Spartina spartinae (Trin.) Merr. ex Hitchc. MOJ Ecology and Environmental Sciences 3(2):110‒115.

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