Researcher studies interaction of fire and grazing
The impact of Sam Fuhlendorf's research is spreading like wildfire.
Kruger National Park in South Africa, the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in Montana, the Wichita Mountains National Refuge in Oklahoma and the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area in British Colombia are some of the largest remnant grasslands and landscapes in the world. All of these, and many more, have used Fuhlendorf's research to develop management plans.
"My work with pyric-herbivory, the ecological interaction of fire and grazing that is critical to patterns of biodiversity, has led to collaborations with scientists and managers to develop management plans across these unique national and international landscapes," said Fuhlendorf, Sarkeys professor of natural resource ecology and management at Oklahoma State University.
The pyric-herbivory research is a critical element of the management of all these landscapes.
"Additionally, the applied version, known as patch burning or patch burn grazing, is used extensively on private and public lands throughout the world," he said.
Using this research, a patch burn working group was developed in eight states, leading to the development of new options for cost-share programs through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resource Conservation Service.
"Over a five-year period EQIP supported 117,625 contracts on more than 51.5 million acres and obligated nearly $1.08 billion to help landowners advance stewardship on working agricultural lands and patch burning is being applied through this program throughout the United States," he said.
His work recently earned him the Regents Distinguished Research Award, which recognizes research excellence at OSU. Recipients are selected based on evidence of outstanding and meritorious achievements, a distinguished record of past and continuing excellence in research, and national and international recognition.