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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: RANGELAND RESTORATION AND MANAGEMENT Title: Brush management as a rangeland conservation strategy: A critical evaluation

Authors
item Archer, Steven -
item Davies, Kirk
item Fulbright, Timothy -
item Mcdaniel, Kirk -
item Wilcox, Bradford -
item Predick, Katharine -

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 2011
Publication Date: July 1, 2011
Repository URL: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb1045798.pdf
Citation: Archer, S.R., Davies, K.W., Fulbright, T.E., Mcdaniel, K.C., Wilcox, B.P., Predick, K.I. 2011. Brush management as a rangeland conservation strategy: A critical evaluation. In: Briske,D.D., editor. Conservation benefits of rangeland practices: Assessment, recommendations, and knowledge gaps. Washington, DC:USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. p. 105-170.

Interpretive Summary: One of the most striking land cover changes on rangelands worldwide over the past 150 years has been the proliferation of trees and shrubs at the expense of perennial grasses. Woody plant encroachment represents a threat to grassland, shrub-steppe and savanna ecosystems and the plants and animals native to them. Efforts to counteract the threats of woody plant encroachment fall into the broad category of brush management. Brush management, defined by the Natural Resource Conservation Service as the removal, reduction or manipulation of non-herbaceous plants, has been an integral component of range management since its formal emergence in the 1940s. Our goal in this chapter is to provide a contemporary, critical evaluation of ‘brush management’ as a conservation tool. In many instances the specific response to practices applied and approaches followed to manage a particular woody plant species are unknown. Thus, many of the perceived benefits of brush management are oversimplified, but it is a critical conservation tool to maintaining grassland, steppe and savanna ecosystems and the biodiversity and services they provide.

Technical Abstract: One of the most striking land cover changes on rangelands worldwide over the past 150 years has been the proliferation of trees and shrubs at the expense of perennial grasses. Woody plant encroachment represents a threat to grassland, shrub-steppe and savanna ecosystems and the plants and animals native to them. Efforts to counteract the threats of woody plant encroachment fall into the broad category of brush management. Brush management, defined by the Natural Resource Conservation Service as the removal, reduction or manipulation of non-herbaceous plants, has been an integral component of range management since its formal emergence in the 1940s. Our goal in this chapter is to provide a contemporary, critical evaluation of ‘brush management’ as a conservation tool. In many instances the specific response to practices applied and approaches followed to manage a particular woody plant species are unknown. Thus, many of the perceived benefits of brush management are oversimplified, but it is a critical conservation tool to maintaining grassland, steppe and savanna ecosystems and the biodiversity and services they provide.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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