Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research
2012 Annual Report
This research examines an ecologically and economically rational strategy for management of B. tectorum invaded rangelands. By utilizing principles of natural succession of Great Basin rangelands, two goals are met: (1) restoring rangelands to their proper functioning using native plant materials and (2) an ecological and economic benefit to land managers through increased restoration success. Understanding if native annual forbs can increase establishment of E. multisetus in degraded rangelands will allow managers and seed producers to take the following steps to maintain healthy systems: (1) include highly competitive annual forbs in restoration of seed mixes to promote establishment of early successional perennial grasses such as E. multisetus, (2) target annual forbs that have the greatest positive effect on E. multisetus and negative effect on B. tectorum biomass and reproduction for seed increase programs, and (3) manage and maintain sites with high annual forb diversity, as these populations may be a vital component for successful restoration of disturbed rangelands.
The greenhouse and field experiments have been completed, and data has been analyzed. The results of these experiments support the idea that the presence of certain native annual forbs can enhance the establishment of E. multisetus in B. tectorum invaded rangelands. A manuscript entitled: “Native annual forbs reduce Bromus tectorum biomass and indirectly facilitate establishment of a native perennial grass” is in review at the Journal of Applied Ecology.