Kuenzler's hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus fendleri var. kuenzleri [Castetter, P. Pierce & K.H. Schwer.] L.D. Benson) is a federally listed threatened species found in pinyon-juniper habitats in south-central New Mexico, USA. Little is known about effects of prescribed fire on this species. First- and second-year responses of plants burned in the field indicated that fire did not affect frequency of flowering, number of flowers produced, or mortality. In a controlled-burning experiment with a burn barrel there was 100% apparent mortality three mo post-burning; however, plants burned with the equivalent of 1344 kg ha-1 of excelsior had higher mortality than plants burned with 672 kg ha-1 of fuel or control plants and there was no difference in mortality between control plants and plants burned with 672 kg ha-1 of excelsior. There was a negative relationship between plant size and mortality of plants burned with 672 kg ha-1 of fuel; there was no relationship between mortality and plant size for plants burned with 1344 kg ha-1 of fuel. Results suggest that fire does not negatively impact plants burned under typical fuel loads in field settings. The use of prescribed fire in habitat where Kuenzler's hedgehog cacti are present should consider fine fuel load.
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Vol. 39 • No. 3