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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development of a Decision-Support System for the Ecologically-Based Management of Cheatgrass and Medusahead-Infested Rangeland

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Objective 1: Develop a new biological control tool to reduce the species performance of cheatgrass and medusahead on rangelands. (Component III, Protection of Natural Ecosystems Problem Statement IIIB, Terrestrial, Aquatic, and Wetland Weeds.) Objective 2: Working with cheatgrass and medusahead, develop new ecological principles that contribute to the basis of EBIPM by investigating the potential interactions among management approach selection, site availability, species availability, and species performance during restoration of cheatgrass and medusahead-dominated rangeland. (Component III, Protection of Natural Ecosystems Problem Statement IIIB, Terrestrial, Aquatic, and Wetland Weeds.) Objective 3: Validate the improved EBIPM framework for use in cheatgrass and medusahead-dominated or threatened ecosystems. (Component III, Protection of Natural Ecosystems Problem Statement IIIB, Terrestrial, Aquatic, and Wetland Weeds)


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
This research will build upon existing efforts to develop ecologically-based invasive weed management strategies. This research will test ecological theories that have potential to become principles that guide invasive plant management and develop those principles into methods for managing weeds. Part of this effort will focus on understanding the key species and grazing strategies that minimize medusahead invasion. Since herbicides are one of the few effective tools for medusahead, this research will attempt to define ecological and economic thresholds for applying them. Finally, the studies will test two novel approaches to restoring medusahead infested rangeland using current ecological theory to guide the implementation. Decision-support tools will be researched and developed to assist land managers in applying existing and new knowledge associated with medusahead in the Great Basin and Columbia Plateau. Replacing 5360-2200-003-00D 07/2010.


3.Progress Report
In this first year of this project, significant progress has been made toward achieving all the objectives listed. We are ahead of schedule in meeting milestones because in addition to identifying sites for research to be conducted, a number of experiments were initiated to begin addressing each of the objectives. Personnel are all on board and working toward getting experiments established.


Review Publications
Davies, K.W., Sheley, R.L. 2011. Promoting native vegetation and diversity in exotic annual grass infestations. Restoration Ecology. 19:159-165.

Mangla, S., Sheley, R.L., James, J.J., Radosevich, S.R. 2011. Role of competition in restoring resource poor arid systems dominated by invasive grasses. Journal of Arid Environments. 75:487-493.

Mangla, S., Sheley, R.L., James, J.J., Radosevich, S.R. 2011. Intra and interspecific competition among invasive and native species during early stages of plant growth. Plant Ecology. 212:531-542.

James, J.J., Drenovsky, R.E., Monaco, T.A., Rinella, M.J. 2011. Managing soil nitrogen to restore annual grass infested plant communities: an effective strategy or incomplete framework? Ecological Applications. 21(2):490-502.

Davies, K.W., Nafus, A., Sheley, R.L. 2010. Non-native competitive perennial grass impedes the spread of an invasive annual grass. Biological Invasions. 12:3187-3194.

Davies, K.W. 2010. Revegetation of medusahead invaded sagebrush steppe. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 63:564-571

Sheley, R.L., James, J.J. 2010. Resistance of native plant functional groups to invasion by medusahead. Journal of Invasive Plant Science and Management. 3(3):294-300.

Mangla, S., Sheley, R.L., James, J.J. 2011. Field growth comparisons of invasive alien annual and native perennial grasses in monocultures. Journal of Arid Environments. 75:206-210.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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