Effects of Fire and Fire Fighting Techniques on Fender’s Blue Butterfly and Kincaid’s Lupine

We report results from a field experiment evaluating the effectiveness of mowing, mowing and herbicides, and burning on woody plants, key native and non-native grasses and forbs, and the Fender’s blue butterfly. The goal was to find a technique that controlled woody pest plants without harming native species or promoting non-native species.

Two years after the initial manipulations, all treatments significantly reduced woody plant cover. Mowing and mowing+herbicide either promoted or had no effect on native species with the exception of Lupinus arbustus, in which cover was significantly decreased by mowing. In contrast, burning had mixed effects on native species, promoting growth for some species and decreasing growth for others. Non-native species were unaffected by mowing or mowing+herbicide. Burning had also had no effect on non-native species with the exception of Dactylis glomerata, in which cover was significantly reduced by burning. Two years after manipulations, the mow+herbicide pest plants and increasing native species without promoting non-native species. One field season after application of fire-fighting foam, the foam appeared to have no negative effects on growth or reproduction of either Lupinus sulphureus spp. kincaidii or Lupinus arbustus.