Effects of prescribed fire on medicinal herbs in the Missouri Ozarks

by

Badger Johnson

(BJ)The Center for Agroforestry, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65203. Corresponding author (bbjc7d@mail.missouri.edu).

Abstract – Harvest of plants from wild ecosystems (“wildcrafting”) for use as the non-timber forest products (NTFPs) can be lucrative, but threatens the existence of certain NTFP populations. As a solution, deliberate cultivation of NTFPs (“forest farming”) has been proposed to increase supply of NTFPs. Forest management practices and site selection compatible with forest farming have not been described in the literature for the Central Hardwoods Region. This study examines the compatibility of specific NTFPs with ecological site descriptions (ESDs) and specific site characteristics in the Missouri Ozarks, as well as the impacts of landscape scale prescribed fire treatments on these NTFPs. Percent cover and frequency for NTFP species within sample plots were correlated with fire treatments and site characteristics. Under the frequent prescribed fire management regime, Sanguinaria canadensis was a loser, effects on Geranium maculatum were mixed, Aristolochia serpentaria response was site dependent and Tephrosia virginiana, Actaea racemosa and Apocynum cannabinum were winners.