Influences of weather on production dynamics in Wyoming big sagebrush

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Here, we investigated the effects of seasonal weather and plant associations, related to abiotic characteristics, on herbaceous production dynamics across 44 intact, representative sagebrush steppe sites across eastern Oregon from 2003 to 2012. We tested for the effects of sampling year, lagged precipitation, and potential evapotranspiration predictors, as well as prior year biomass and plant association on production of major herbaceous functional groups. We also tested for synchrony across functional groups and plant associations. We found that spring precipitation was the most consistent predictor of production. However, several other variables including prior year weather significantly affected production. Production sensitivity to weather was combined with high synchrony across functional groups and associations, suggesting low potential for production stability associated with these factors in sagebrush steppe in the northern Great Basin.

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