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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Species Diversity in Cheatgrass Communities

Authors
item Young, James
item Clements, Darin

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 6, 2004
Publication Date: February 1, 2005
Citation: Young, J.A., Clements, C.D. 2005. Species diversity in cheatgrass communities [abstract]. Proceedings of the Society for Range Management, February 5-11, 2005, Fort Worth, Texas. 58:69.

Technical Abstract: Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum)is a highly invasive exotic annual weed that has invaded millions of hectares of rangelands in the Intermountain west. Cheatgrass increases the chance of ignition, the rate of spread, and decreases the interval between wildfires. Cheatgrass out competes seedlings of perennial species for soil moisture which effectively closes the site to the recruitment of perennial seedlings. Cheatgrass truncates succession, assuring its' continual dominance, therefor cheatgrass communities are often referred to as mono-cultures. This, however is not true at 3 inter-related levels. If a cheatgrass community is denuded mechanically, herbicides, or intense burning then the annual grass may not be present in the subsequent successional community for 1 or more growing seasons. Fully established cheatgrass communities almost always contain other exotic and invasive species. Some escape competition with cheatgrass as extreme ephemerals, while others share or use resources not fully exploited by the annual grass. The last level is succession by exotic invasive species beyond cheatgrass dominance. This may be other annuals, or biennial or perennial species. In excess of 40 species occur in cheatgrass mono-cultures, in which most of them are exotic and invasive species. These species are very important in developing weed control and revegetation plans for cheatgrass infested rangelands.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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