Variation in sagebrush communities historically seeded with crested wheatgrass in the eastern Great Basin

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In this study, a multivariate dataset was analyzed using principal components analysis to identify “defining factors” that best explained variation among sites. Variation was primarily attributed to an inverse relationship between crested wheatgrass and sagebrush abundance (R2 = 0.69; P < 0.0001) and their affinity for either silty or sandy soil textures, respectively, as well as a negative association between crested wheatgrass abundance and species diversity (R2 = 0.67; P < 0.0001). These results do not support the assumption that crested wheatgrass seedings uniformly remain in vegetation states with low diversity and poor sagebrush reestablishment over the long term (i.e., 43 − 63 yr). We suggest that a broader interpretation of plant community dynamics is needed while avoiding generalizations of how historically seeded Wyoming big sagebrush sites will respond over time.