He said because of mesquite invasion and overgrazing, most grasslands once dominated by warm-season midgrasses have degraded to cool-season midgrasses (mainly Texas wintergrass) and warm-season shortgrasses (mainly buffalograss).

Ansley said historical fire regimes likely included a mixture of summer and winter season fires and this may have been important for the maintenance of the perennial midgrasses in these ecosystems.

His study shows how alternate-season fire treatment in a prescribed burning management plan can restore warm-season midgrass cover and enhance overall herbaceous production and diversity.

Warm-season midgrasses are more productive and can increase livestock carrying capacity in a pasture, he said. Grasses such as sideoats grama, vine mesquite and Texas cupgrass are palatable warm-season midgrasses.

"Fire treatments are designed to reduce mesquite and other brush canopies and hopefully restore grasslands toward more of a warm-season midgrass dominance," Ansley said.

He has determined that winter-season fires reduced mesquite temporarily but do not shift cool-season midgrass dominance to warm-season midgrass dominance.