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2018-018: Monitoring of forage recovery following the October 2017 Burstall fires

Researcher: Eric Lamb

Funding: $21,505

Project Description:

The fires in southwest Saskatchewan and south east Alberta were devastating to producers and their herds last year. Beyond the work completed by a number of organizations to immediately assist producers in this area, concern was also raised about appropriate compensation while herds needed feed. This research helps investigate accurate recovery periods and best management practices to regenerate the stand and lower the spread of invasive species.


Forage productivity in 2018 was substantially reduced on burned native rangelands relative to unburned rangelands. Tame sites showed lesser fire impacts. Plant community composition was similar between burned and unburned sites, and few weedy species were observed. The lack of plant community composition effects from the fire suggests that forage recovery will primarily be driven by litter layer recovery, and consequent effects on soil moisture. Recovery in 2019 and 2020 has progressed smoothly, however deficits in productivity and litter recovery are still evident.

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