Title: Grazing and fire interactions in sagebrush plant communities Author
Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 25, 2011
Publication Date: February 9, 2012
Citation: Davies, K.W. 2012. Grazing and fire interactions in sagebrush plant communities [abstract]. 65th Annual Society for Range Management Meeting Proceedings. Paper No. 0010. Technical Abstract: Fire and livestock grazing occur on most rangelands throughout the world. Though they are often evaluated separately, they can profoundly influence each other. In sagebrush plant communities, properly managed grazing can decrease the severity of fire and reduce the likelihood of post-fire exotic annual grass invasion by modifying fine fuel characteristics. However, heavy grazing can promote invasion of highly flammable exotic plants that increase the risk of frequent, large-scale wildfires. Thus, it is important to realize that the influence of livestock on fuel characteristics and subsequent fire risk and severity is strongly dependent on grazing management. Livestock and other herbivores are also attracted to recently burned areas, thus proper post-fire management of grazing is critical. However, moderate levels of grazing after the first growing season generally have little impact on post-fire vegetation where seeding was not needed. Fire and grazing interact to influence plant community dynamics, thus land managers and researchers should be cognitive that their interactive effect may be different than their individual effect.