Canadian Forest Service Publications

Prescribed burning in the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. 2012. Wotton, M. Natural Resources Canada. Canadian Forest Service. Great Lakes Forestry Centre. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Frontline Express 55. 2p.

Year: 2012

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 33361

Language: English

Series: Frontline Express (GLFC - Sault Ste. Marie)

Availability: PDF (download)

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The tallgrass prairie ecosystem is one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada. It is characterized by grasses up to three metres tall and by a variety of wildflowers and fauna, including numerous species at risk. It once covered close to 1000 km2 throughout southern Ontario and now only 3% of that area remains as small, fragmented pockets. These areas, between the Trent River and Windsor, represent the most easterly extent of the ecosystem in Canada. A major cause of the decline of this ecosystem was the practice of fire exclusion in the last century; frequent fires are needed to encourage seed production and prevent the encroachment of woody plants. Restoration efforts over the last 20 years have included an increasingly active prescribed burning program, delivered by a growing range of stakeholders. Fire scientists with the Canadian Forest Service (CFS), recognized worldwide for their expertise in developing fire behaviour prediction systems, have been involved in creating new prediction models for fire behaviour in grasses. These new models are intended to more accurately predict rate of spread for the tallgrass prairie ecosystem fuel type than the current model. The recently published “Field Guide to Predicting Fire Behaviour in Ontario’s Tallgrass Prairie” will provide burn practitioners with the best available science and tools to assist them in preparing burn plans and making decisions about expected fire behaviour on any potential burn day, thus minimizing risk to the public and to property in the area.