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Iowa Learning Farms’ December Webinar Explores Patch-Burn Grazing

By Staff | Dec 11, 2011

AMES – The Iowa Learning Farms’ (ILF) December webinar, to be held Wednesday, Dec. 14, at noon, will feature Ryan Harr, who will discuss patch-burn grazing as part of the multi-state Restoration Ecology in Working Landscapes project.

The webinar is part of a series, hosted by ILF, usually held on the third Wednesday of each month. Please note that this month the webinar is on the second Wednesday. The webinars are held over the noon hour through Adobe Connect. All that is needed to participate is a computer with Internet access.

North American prairie ecosystems evolved in the context of both fire and grazing. In recent efforts to restore the interactive effects of these processes to grasslands in the central U.S., fire is applied to discrete portions of the landscape. Grazers focus their activities on these recently burned patches while avoiding unburned areas. This approach is termed “patch-burn grazing.” The scale of forage selection is altered from individual plant species to entire patches and the fire-grazing interaction has been shown to increase grassland biodiversity and limit the spread of exotic, invasive forage species. The Restoration Ecology project’s goal is to examine the effects of patch-burn grazing and compare this approach to traditional grazing and the use of fire without grazing. The project team works with local landowners in the southern Iowa and northern Missouri area to examine their perspectives on the use of fire and grazing as management tools.

Ryan Harr is a wildlife biologist at Iowa State University working on the project team. He coordinates and oversees much of the field research operations. He will present background information as well as results to date of this project.

To connect to the webinar, go to connect.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/. Harr will be able to answer questions from webinar attendees via the Adobe Connect chat box. The ILF website homepage contains links for archived webinars from previous months: www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf.

Iowa Learning Farms is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the US EPA (section 319); in cooperation with Conservation Districts of Iowa and the Iowa Farm Bureau.

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