Submitted to: Ecology and Management of Pinyon Juniper Communities Within The Interior W
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2005
Publication Date: May 16, 2005
Citation: Bates, J.D., Miller, R. 2005. Wyoming big sagebrush influence on community resource capture [abstract]. Ecology and Management of Pinyon Juniper Communities Within The Interior W. Paper No. 23. Technical Abstract: Wyoming big sagebrush alliance is the most extensive subspecies of the 62 million ha big sagebrush complex in the western United States. A substantial decrease in the area occupied by Wyoming big sagebrush has occurred due to altered fire regimes, invasion by exotic annuals, and anthropogenic control efforts. We investigated the influence of removing sagebrush with burning on community resource capture over two years. Microtopography, important for conserving site nutrient status, decreased the first year after sagebrush removal. Though annual herbaceous production was greater with sagebrush removal, control plots (sagebrush present) had greater total annual vegetation production in both years. Greater annual production suggested that more solar energy and carbon dioxide were utilized in the control plots. Soil moisture in the upper 15 cm of the profile was also greater on the control plots than the sagebrush removed plots in both years of the study. The reduction in microtopography, less total annual production, and less soil moisture after sagebrush removal strongly suggests that Wyoming big sagebrush is important to community resource capture.