Geomorphic effects of prescribed burning on headwater stream channels in Mark Twain National Forest, Missouri

Authors: Grace Roman*, Valparaiso University
Topics: Geomorphology, Environment
Keywords: Missouri, Headwater, Geomorphology
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Mark Twain National Forest in the Missouri Ozarks is using prescribed burning practices to manage forest resources and help restore shortleaf pine-oak woodlands. However, there are concerns about the effects of prescribed burning on runoff, sediment, and stream conditions in headwater watersheds. Despite this, there has been little work done to assess the effects of prescribed burns on headwater streams (1st-2nd order channels). This study compares geomorphic characteristics among headwater streams with varying prescribed burn frequency, including unburned stands, within the Big Barren Creek Watershed (190 km2 drainage area). The watershed consists primarily of national forest land with 26% of the land being privately owned. A combination of LiDAR data, field measurements, and laboratory evaluations will be used to analyze (i) channel form; (ii) soil properties; and (iii) tree/down wood composition in headwater stream channels. Previous research in the area showed small differences in soil and forest characteristics between burned and unburned stands. This study hopes to quantify the geomorphic characteristics of headwater streams and evaluate the effects of prescribed burns, if any, on channel form and ecological conditions to improve our understanding of fire effects on fluvial systems.

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