Effects of Fire Frequency and Red Imported Fire Ants on Native Insects in Louisiana Longleaf Pine SavannaEPA Grant Number: U915156
Title: Effects of Fire Frequency and Red Imported Fire Ants on Native Insects in Louisiana Longleaf Pine Savanna
Investigators: Colby, Deanna M.
Institution: Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: September 1, 1997 through September 1, 2000
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1997) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences , Fellowship - Entomology
The objective of this research project is to determine an appropriate burning regime based on native insect population responses to different fire frequencies. Protocols for restoring and maintaining endangered ecosystems have been established from historical perspectives, but it is equally important to modify regimes in response to unique circumstances resulting from modern day events, such as the introduction of exotic species. The objective of this research is to determine an appropriate burning regime based on native insect population responses to different fire frequencies. The objective of this research project is to determine an appropriate burning regime based on native insect population responses to different fire frequencies. This regime would minimize establishment of the red imported fire ant, while maintaining indigenous plant and animal communities.
To determine the effects of fire on selected species, I began my study in 1996 by comparing an area subjected to frequent burns in a five-year period to one that had not been burned in at least five years. I established five (1 ha) circular plots in each area with 10 pitfall traps per plot. Sampling was conducted during March through November. Target species were collected twice per month for 48 hours each time. Environmental variables such as leaf litter dry weight, grass height, soil moisture, and soil temperature were recorded for each plot. To address burn frequency and red imported fire ant effects on selected species, the unburned area was divided into two sections, each containing six (1 ha) circular plots with 12 pitfall traps and one flight intercept trap per plot. Three plots per section were treated with Amdro every 6 months to remove fire ants. Both sections were subjected to a managed growing season burn in August 1997. In August 1998, one of the two sections was burned again, resulting in one section having been burned annually and the other biennially in the two 2-year period.