In this study, exotic annual grass cover and density were greatly reduced in all treatments where perennial seedlings were planted compared with the control (no seedlings planted). Treatments including crested wheatgrass (Agropyron desertorum) generally limited annual grasses more than other treatments. Most notably, forage kochia (Bassia prostata) reduced exotic annual grasses less than crested wheatgrass and crested wheatgrass planted with forage kochia. This suggests that if forage kochia will be planted, it should be used in conjunction with perennial bunchgrasses in efforts to revegetate exotic annual grass − invaded sagebrush steppe. Established native vegetation also greatly reduced exotic annual grass reinvasion. Though some differences existed among established vegetation treatments, our study highlights that established perennial vegetation prevents redomination by invasives after exotic annual grass control.
This webinar discusses the Upper Snake Sagebrush Seed Collection Contract and Shoshone Native Plant Material Development, which is important to the production of local native seed and rehabilitation treatment resiliency in the face of extreme weather events, increasing fire frequency and severity, and for restoring and improving habitat for sagebrush-obligate wildlife species. Webinar presenters were Ben Dyer, Fire Ecologist, Upper Snake Field Office, and Danelle Nance, Natural Resource Specialist, Shoshone Field Office BLM.
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In this work, researchers examined understory plant community responses to ecological restoration treatments at two pinyon-juniper woodland sites in northwestern Arizona. We asked the following questions: 1) do restoration treatments, that include tree thinning prescriptions guided by reference conditions, scattering thinning slash, and seeding, lead to increases in plant cover and species richness; and 2) how do understory responses differ across sites with contrasting soils characteristics?
This study used three years of survey data to examine the relationship between gas field development density and pygmy rabbit site occupancy patterns on four major Wyoming gas fields (Continental Divide–Creston–Blue Gap, Jonah, Moxa Arch, Pinedale Anticline Project Area). The study found that pygmy rabbits in southwestern Wyoming may be sensitive to gas field development at levels similar to those observed for greater sage-grouse, and may suffer local population declines at lower levels of development than are allowed in existing plans and policies designed to conserve greater sage-grouse by limiting the surface footprint of energy development. Buried utilities, gas well pads, areas adjacent to well pads, and well pad access roads had the strongest negative correlation with pygmy rabbit presence and abundance. Minimizing the surface footprint of these elements may reduce negative impacts of gas energy development on pygmy rabbits.
These abstracts of recent papers on range management in the West were prepared by Charlie Clements, Rangeland Scientist, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Reno, NV.
This review of the literature found that in general long-term rest and modern properly managed grazing produce few significant differences. However, some topic areas have not been adequately studied to accurately predict the influence of long-term rest compared to managed grazing. In some situations, not grazing can cause an accumulation of fine fuels that increase fire risk and severity and, subsequently, the probability of sagebrush steppe rangelands converting to exotic annual grasslands. Shifts in plant communities (i.e., exotic annual grass invasion and western juniper encroachment), caused in part from historical improper grazing, cannot be reversed by long-term rest.
This report synthesizes current information on the effectiveness of post-fire seeding for both soil stabilization and for prevention of the spread of invasive species in rangelands. This information will help federal land managers make more cost-effective decisions on post-fire stabilization and rehabilitation treatments.