Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Fire Frequency Effects on Habitat Quality in the Cross Timbers Ecoregion

Prescribed fires to manage wildlife habitat in the Cross Timbers, Oklahoma


July 2008 - June 2012


We are assesing the effects of fire frequency on habitat quality in three Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) dominated by Cross Timbers forests to provide new knowledge about the interrelationships among wildlife, fire, and vegetation. This information is critical to land managers and policy makers who need to develop management strategies and tools required to produce healthy and sustainable ecosystems under growing pressures from urban and suburban expansion, fragmentation, invasive species, and other threats to forest communities. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) manages 18 WMAs where Cross Timbers forests are a significant component of the landscape so insight from this study will enhance their management for wildlife and diversity values.

Research Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Burton, J. A., S. W. Hallgren, S. D. Fuhlendorf, and D. M. Leslie, Jr. 2011. Understory response to varying fire frequencies after 20 years of prescribed burning in an upland oak forest. Plant Ecology 212:1513-1525.


  • Hensley, G. M. 2010. Fire effects on habitat quality for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) within the Cross Timbers Ecoregion. M.S. Thesis, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater. 74 pp.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 144

Post Docs: 55

University Staff: 239

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 670

Scientific Publications: 1897

Presentations: 4202



  • David LeslieCo-Principal Investigator

Funding Agencies

  • Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey