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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

2013 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:
Several extensive field experiments have been implemented in the region; all associated with achieving objectives one through three of this project. Multiple years of data are being collected and in FY13, extensive data collection continued. Data summaries have begun for portions of research addressing subobjectives and manuscripts are in preparation for some of the research. Five manuscripts were published in FY13 that were associated with this project.


Review Publications
Monaco, T.A., Leffler, A.J., James, J.J. 2012. Differences in nitrogen uptake capacity between native and invasive grasses is dependent on temperature. Oecologia. DOI:10.1007/s00442-012-2399-4.

Hardegree, S.P., Cho, J., Moffet, C.A., Roundy, B.A., Jones, T.A., James, J.J., Flerchinger, G.N., Clark, P., Pierson Jr, F.B. 2013. Hydrothermal assessment of temporal variability in seedbed microclimate. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 66:127-135.

Morris, L.R., Monaco, T.A., Blank, R.R., Sheley, R.L. 2013. Long-term redevelopment of resource islands in shrublands of the Great Basin, USA. Ecosphere. 4:12.

Morris, L.R., Monaco, T.A., Blank, R.R., Leger, E., Sheley, R.L. 2013. Land-use legacies of cultivation in sagebrush ecosystems affect soil nutrients and plant growth nearly a century after cultivation. Plant Ecology. 214:831-844.

Bansal, S., Hallsby, G., Lofvenius, M.O., Nilsson, M. 2013. Synergistic, additive and antagonistic impacts of drought and herbivory on Pinus sylvestris: leaf, tissue and whole-plant responses and recovery. Tree Physiology. 33:451-463.

James, J.J., Sheley, R.L., Erickson, T., Rollins, K.S., Taylor, M.H., Dixon, K.W. 2013. A systems approach to restoring degraded drylands. Journal of Applied Ecology. 50:730-739.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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