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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: RANGELAND RESTORATION AND MANAGEMENT

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

Title: Perceptions of ranchers about medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski) management on sagebrush steppe rangelands

Authors
item Johnson, Dustin -
item Davies, Kirk
item Schreder, Peter -
item Chamberlain, Anna-Marie -

Submitted to: Environmental Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 27, 2011
Publication Date: September 1, 2011
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/50006
Citation: Johnson, D.D., Davies, K.W., Schreder, P., Chamberlain, A. 2011. Perceptions of ranchers about medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski) management on sagebrush steppe rangelands. Environmental Management. 48:400-417.

Interpretive Summary: Medusahead is an exotic annual grass invading rangelands in the western United States. Despite the importance of ranchers as partners in preventing and managing medusahead infestations, little is known about their behaviors concerning medusahead management. We surveyed ranchers operating on sagebrush steppe rangeland to determine their behaviors and what influenced these behaviors regarding medusahead management. Ranchers operating on medusahead-infested rangeland were more likely to indicate increased awareness and concern about medusahead and the potential for its continued expansion. These ranchers were also more likely to indicate using measures to prevent the spread of medusahead and other invasive plants on rangeland. This study revealed an alarming trend in which knowledge and awareness of invasive plants were often lacking until individuals directly experience the negative consequences of invasion. Thus, suggesting that more efforts need to be directed at educating people about the potential negative impacts of medusahead and other invasive plants.

Technical Abstract: Medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae (L.) Nevski) is an exotic annual grass invading rangelands in the western United States. Medusahead is a serious management concern because its decreases biodiversity, reduces livestock forage production, and degrades ecological function of rangelands. Despite the obvious importance of ranchers as partners in preventing and managing medusahead infestations, little is known about their perspectives, opinions, and behaviors concerning medusahead management. We present the results of a survey of 600 ranchers operating on sagebrush steppe rangeland in a three-county area encompassing over 7.2 million hectares in southeast Oregon. The primary objective of this research was to determine whether the presence of medusahead on a ranch influenced its operator’s perceptions, opinions, and behaviors concerning medusahead control and prevention. Ranchers operating on medusahead-infested rangeland were more likely to indicate increased awareness and concern about medusahead and the potential for its continued expansion (P < 0.05). Ranchers operating on rangeland invaded by medusahead were more likely to indicate using measures to prevent the spread of medusahead and other invasive plants on rangeland, interest in educational opportunities concerning invasive annual grass management, and plans for controlling invasive annual grasses in the future (P < 0.05). This study revealed an alarming trend in which knowledge and awareness of invasive plants are often lacking until individuals directly experience the negative consequences of invasion. Information campaigns would raise knowledge awareness of invasive plants and their impacts. Survey results suggest information campaigns aimed at bolstering awareness of invasive species among ranchers must carefully consider appropriate delivery methods. Web- or computer-based invasive plant information and tools were largely unpopular among ranchers, whereas traditional forms of information delivered in brochures/pamphlets or via face-to-face interaction were preferred (P < 0.05).

Last Modified: 9/21/2014
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