2009 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Evaluate how management practices and disturbance processes interact to influence: A) transitions/thresholds in ecological phases and states, B) plant community heterogeneity, C) mechanisms and risk of weed invasion, and D) temporal dynamics of key ecological indicators of rangeland health.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Complementary studies will address the influence of grazing management strategies on ecosystem services including diverse production and conservation goals including plant diversity, rangeland health, livestock and plant production, weed invasion, carbon sequestration/storage and small mammal populations.
The objective of this cooperative work is to evaluate how management practices and disturbance processes interact to influence.
1)transitions/thresholds in ecological phases and states,.
2)plant community heterogeneity,.
3)mechanisms and risk of weed invasion, and D) temporal dynamics of key ecological indicators of rangeland health in northern mixed-grass prairie. In FY 2009, efforts addressed the evaluations of numerous ecosystem responses to management practices of grazing (season of grazing, stocking rates) and disturbances (interseeding of C3 perennial grasses). These responses include plant growth, animal weight gains, plant productivity, plant composition and diversity, bare ground and plant cover (from ground sensed platforms), and small mammal abundance and composition. Work by this project will ultimately result in the development of grazing management strategies that are desirable for enhancing ecosystem services and achieving contemporary conservation objectives while still providing necessary livestock production. In addition, ecological information regarding how this rangeland ecosystem responds to grazing season and stocking rate (including the reduction of stocking rates after a prior history of heavy grazing) will be useful to land managers. To ensure accountability in the mutual expectations of this collaboration, ADODR meets with leadership of the 8A Hay and Cattle Company on at least a monthly basis to discuss research findings. In addition, ADODR presents a summary of the research findings to the 8A Hay and Cattle Company at the end of the year.