Land use in south-central Oklahoma and north Texas has changed greatly since the 1930s and 40s when Lloyd Noble, founder of Noble Research Institute, saw the devastation of the soil and committed himself to making a difference to help the region.
When planning a prescribed burn, there are many environmental factors to consider including topography, fuel loads and weather.
Many people view honey mesquite as a poor quality rangeland plant. However, it provides cover and food for wildlife and livestock; plus it is a legume that has the ability to fix nitrogen back into the soil.
Succession is a relatively predictable process of change that occurs in plant communities and soils. It is an important concept when managing native plant communities for wildlife, livestock grazing, timber production or other goals.
Planning and preparation for prescribed burns should start several months or even a year prior to a burn.
Eastern Red-cedar trees have become more abundant in many fence rows and pastures. This now very common tree was once limited to rocky bluffs, deep canyons and other areas where fire did not historically occur.
Prescribed burning is one of the most valuable and cost effective tools available to manage our rangelands. Fire was an integral part of the ecosystem in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas throughout history, and our plant communities are adapted to fire.
Recently, our agricultural research team has been asked to provide talks during tours of our Oswalt Road Ranch. The Noble Research Institute took full control of the property in 2000. The ranch is a valuable piece of property because of its unique natural beauty and potential to support livestock production and wildlife habitat.
As part of the prescribed burn planning process, managers should secure the appropriate equipment.
We often recommend prescribed burning as a method to manage native rangeland and wildlife habitat - and, indeed, many of us believe that fire should be considered an integral component to most rangeland management systems. With all of the touted benefits of prescribed burning, however, we often do not associate costs with the use of fire.