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TexasFireEnergyPlotsDataset.xlsx (92.11 kB)

Data from: Exotic herbivores and fire energy drive standing herbaceous biomass but do not alter compositional patterns in a semiarid savanna ecosystem

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posted on 2023-12-18, 20:55 authored by Virginia Preiss, Carissa Wonkka, Devan McGranahan, Alexandra Lodge, Matthew Dickinson, Kathleen Kavanagh, Heath Starns, Douglas Tolleson, Morgan Treadwell, Dirac Twidwell, William Rogers

The data comprise 2 years of biomass and plant community data from a study on fire and herbivore impacts on vegetation in semi-arid Texas savanna. Data are from 72 10m x 10m plots. We randomly assigned one of three fire treatments (no fire, low-energy fire, and high-energy fire), to each whole plot, resulting in 24 replicates. We then divided each of the seventy-two whole plots into four quadrants and established a subplot in the middle of each quadrant. We randomly assigned one of two herbivory treatments to two subplots within each whole plot, with an herbivore exclusion cage (hereafter exclosure) randomly assigned to two subplots; the remaining two subplots served as controls (herbivore-accessible with no exclosure; hereafter herbivore-accessible). We constructed exclosures from 0.13 x 0.76m 19-gauge steel hardware cloth encircled into a 0.5m diameter cage. We secured them with wires to ensure there were no gaps and securely anchored them to be flush with the soil surface. Similar hardware cloth roofs were constructed and affixed on the top of the exclosures to ensure exclusion of vertebrate herbivores. The herbivore-accessible controls were equivalent diameter subplots without an exclosure.

During the growing season one year after treatment implementation (April 2019) we selected one exclosure and one herbivore-accessible subplot for above-ground biomass harvesting. We removed exclosures and hand-clipped all vegetation in the plot to soil level, separated it by functional group, placed it in paper bags, and dried it at 60 degrees C for 24hrs prior to weighing. We clipped herbivore-accessible subplots in the same manner using a 0.5m diameter circular wire-frame to mimic the caged area in adjacent subplots. This process was repeated in August 2020 on the two remaining unharvested subplots. Before clipping, for each subplot, we visually assessed the percent cover of each species present following the Daubenmire classification system.

Resources in this dataset:

  • Resource Title: Fire Herbivory Subplot Data File Name: TexasFireEnergyPlotsDataset.xlsx Resource Description: All data from the project and a tab for metadata


Joint Fire Science Program: 17-1-04-7

USDA-ARS: 3032-21220-003-000-D


Data contact name

Wonkka, Carissa

Data contact email


Ag Data Commons

Intended use

Biomass and plant community compositional data may be used to validate analysis of fire and herbivore impacts. Additionally they could be used in a broader assessment of fire and herbivore impacts on biomass and community composition when combined with additional datasets.

Temporal Extent Start Date


Temporal Extent End Date



  • Not specified

Geographic Coverage


Geographic location - description

Texas A&M Sonora Agrilife Research Station, Texas, USA

ISO Topic Category

  • environment

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

introduced species; herbivores; savannas; ecosystems; plant communities; wildfires; cages; steel; soil; vertebrates; growing season; aboveground biomass; harvesting; data collection; Axis axis; Odocoileus virginianus; rangelands; grasslands; biomass; arid lands; semiarid soils; Texas

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

ARS National Program Number

  • 304
  • 305

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

Preiss, Virginia, D.; Wonkka, Carissa, L.; McGranahan, Devan, A.; Lodge, Alexandra, G.; Dickinson, Matthew, B.; Kavanagh, Kathleen, L.; Starns, Heath, D.; Tolleson, Douglas, R.; Treadwell, Morgan, L.; Twidwell, Dirac; Rogers, William, E. (2023). Data from: Exotic herbivores and fire energy drive standing herbaceous biomass but do not alter compositional patterns in a semiarid savanna ecosystem. Ag Data Commons.