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Custer Battlefield National Monument

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INTRODUCTION TO THE FINAL REPORT. This report describes our 3-year study on the effects of wildfire at Custer National Monument near Crow Agency, Montana. A wildfire of undetermined origin, which occurred on 10 August, 1983, burned 220 ha (approximately 90%) of the Monument (Flgure 1). Although no data are available on fire intensity, the ambient conditions were remembered as hot, dry, and windy. An examination of photos shows that the fire killed virtually all above-ground vegetation. Our work commenced in spring, 1984. Field work for this project was carried out in the springs and summers of 1984, 1985, and 1986. Our final report is divided into four parts. The first and longest section describes our study of the vegetation on the Battlefield and its response to fire. The second section is a manuscript (presently under review) which presents a study of the responses of birds to the fire. The third portion presents a history of the Battlefield's vegetation from the time of the Battle of the Little Bighorn until now. The fourth section presents our checklist of the vegetation of Custer National Monument, and our classification of the dominant grassland communities on the study area.