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This webinar discusses how targeted grazing can reduce fuels to prevent wildfire in shrub-grasslands. Chris Schachtschneider, Eva Strand, and Scott Jensen, University of Idaho, present.
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Brian Mealor, Associate Professor and Director of the Sheridan Research and Extension Center, UW, discusses strategic opportunities where land managers can intervene to move the needle on cheatgrass. It describes the level of invasion and management strategies applicable to each. Then, Mike Pellant, Ecologist, Retired BLM, discusses post-fire opportunities, cheatgrass die-off areas, and the myths and realities of dormant season targeted grazing.
This webinar was the fourth in our 2018 Webinar Series: Moving the Needle on Cheatgrass: Putting What We Know into Practice.
This study evaluated how targeted grazing treatments interacted with seed rate, spatial planting arrangement (mixtures vs. monoculture strips), seed coating technology, and species identity (five native grasses) to affect standing biomass and seeded plant density in experimental greenstrips.
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The webinar “An All Lands Approach to Grazing Management” examined cross-boundary strategies for cooperative grazing management between a variety of federal and state agencies in Idaho. These efforts seek to achieve a more flexible management system across ownership boundaries to better respond to various rangeland challenges. Moderator: Curtis Elke, State Conservationist for Idaho, USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service. Panelists: Karen Launchbaugh, Director, University of Idaho Rangeland Center; Dustin Miller, Administrator, Idaho Governor’s Office of Species Conservation; Chris Black, Chair, Board of Directors, Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission; June Shoemaker, Idaho State Director for Resources, Bureau of Land Management. This webinar is part of the series for the National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative, the Chairman’s Initiative of WGA Chair and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.
Heavy late-fall grazing by sheep following spring deferment improves deteriorated sagebrush-grass ranges by reducing sagebrush and increasing the production of grasses and forbs. Fall grazing as a method for range improvement is more effective and practical than complete protection from grazing and is less expensive than mechanical or chemical means of sagebrush control. Heavy spring grazing damages good-condition ranges by increasing sagebrush and reducing herbaceous production.
The objective of this study was to investigate how climate, land use and community structure may explain these patterns of species dominance. We found that differences in summer precipitation and winter minimum temperature, land use intensity, and shrub size may all contribute to the dominance of annual species in the Great Basin, particularly cheatgrass. In particular, previous work indicates that summer precipitation and winter temperature drive the distribution of cheatgrass in the Great Basin. As a result, sites with wet summers and cold springs, similar to the Chinese sites, would not be expected to be dominated by cheatgrass. A history of more intense grazing of the Chinese sites, as described in the literature, also is likely to decrease fire frequency, and decreases litter and shrub dominance, all of which have been demonstrated to be important in cheatgrass establishment and ultimate dominance. Further research is necessary to determine if other annuals that follow the same pattern of scarcity in the Junggar Basin and dominance in the Great Basin are responding to the same influences.
Sage-grouse obtain resources for breeding, summer, and winter life stages from sagebrush communities. Grazing can change the productivity, composition, and structure of herbaceous plants in sagebrush communities, thus directly influencing the productivity of nesting and early brood-rearing habitats. Indirect influences of livestock grazing and ranching on sage-grouse habitat include fencing, watering facilities, treatments to increase livestock forage, and targeted grazing to reduce fine fuels. To illustrate the relative value of sagebrush habitats to sage-grouse on year-round and seasonal bases, we developed state and transition models to conceptualize the interactions between wildfire and grazing in mountain and Wyoming big sagebrush communities. In some sage-grouse habitats, targeted livestock grazing may be useful for reducing fine fuels produced by annual grasses. We provide economic scenarios for ranches that delay spring turnout on public lands to increase herbaceous cover for nesting sage-grouse. Proper rangeland management is critical to reduce potential negative effects of livestock grazing to sage-grouse habitats.
The key to grazing that will enhance watershed dynamics is encompassed in the basic ingredients of watershed management, i.e., managing for water efficiency. These ingredients, which have been stated by Barrett (1990), are to CAPTURE, STORE, and SAFELY RELEASE water on watersheds.
Time-controlled, short-duration, high intensity sheep or cattle grazing for several days in early spring removes substantial amounts of alien annual plant seed while it is still in inflorescence and opens up the sward canopy to allow light to penetrate to young, short-statured seedling perennials. This grazing event must be timed to allow perennial grass regrowth, flowering and seed set before spring soil moisture is exhausted. It must be intense enough to graze off the grass inflorescences of most alien annual grasses. The result is increased live crown cover for mature perennial grasses, reduced decadent dead-center growth forms in bunchgrasses, and improved light availability to tiller bases which promotes basal bud activation and new vegetative and reproductive tiller formation. These perennial grass responses constitute what managers term improved plant vigor.
We examined the effect of livestock grazing and previous wildfire events on fuel load in southeastern Idaho as part of a wildfire risk-livestock interaction study. Fuel load was estimated using ordinal fuel load classes at 128 sample sites stratified by current livestock grazing and documented wildfire occurrence (1939-2000). Fifty-nine percent of previous wildfire sites had a documented fire within the past 2 years. Livestock grazing was the most effective means to reduce fuel load compared to recent wildfire and livestock grazing with previous wildfire. Livestock grazing provides a viable management tool for fuel load reduction prescriptions that avoids the negative effect of extreme fire intensity where fuel load is high.