Fighting fire with native plants
Large wildfires have dominated the news in much of the western U.S. this past summer. Conservancy scientists working in rangelands and forests are engaged in many efforts to understand, cope with or avoid the effects of these fires. In fact, one Conservancy field crew working in the Northern Great Basin Experimental Range (NGBER) was chased from their beds and field work by one of these fires for a few days. They were collecting data on novel restoration approaches to reduce the vulnerability of sagebrush habitat to large wildfires beforehand and recover more successfully after the fires. This involved replacing one of the key culprits contributing to wildfires in the west, cheatgrass, with native plant species.