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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: RANGELAND RESTORATION AND MANAGEMENT Title: Moderate Livestock Grazing Protects Sagebrush Plant Communities From Post-fire Cheatgrass Invasion.

Authors
item Davies, Kirk
item Bates, Jonathan
item Svejcar, Anthony

Submitted to: Oregon State University Agricultural Experiment Station
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2010
Publication Date: May 27, 2010
Repository URL: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/eoarc/sites/default/files/653.pdf
Citation: Davies, K., Bates, J., Svejcar, T. 2010. Moderate Livestock Grazing Protects Sagebrush Plant Communities From Post-fire Cheatgrass Invasion. Oregon State University Beef Research Report. BEEF031

Interpretive Summary: Livestock grazing and fire are common disturbances on sagebrush rangelands. However, little is known about the influence of pre-fire grazing on post-fire plant community recovery. We evaluated the impacts of long-term grazing compared to not grazing prior to fire on sagebrush rangeland. We found that burning caused a huge increase in cheatgrass (an invasive annual) in the ungrazed burn, but not in the grazed burn. The increase in cheatgrass coincided with mortality of native perennial bunchgrasses. We suspect that accumulation of plant litter in the ungrazed treatment resulted in a hotter fire and thus bunchgrass mortality. This information is important to scientists and land managers interested in fire and grazing interactions.

Technical Abstract: Livestock grazing and fire are common disturbances on sagebrush rangelands. However, little is known about the influence of pre-fire grazing on post-fire plant community recovery. We evaluated the impacts of long-term grazing compared to not grazing prior to fire on sagebrush rangeland. We found that burning caused a huge increase in cheatgrass (an invasive annual) in the ungrazed burn, but not in the grazed burn. The increase in cheatgrass coincided with mortality of native perennial bunchgrasses. We suspect that accumulation of plant litter in the ungrazed treatment resulted in a hotter fire and thus bunchgrass mortality. This information is important to scientists and land managers interested in fire and grazing interactions.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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