Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: RANGELAND RESTORATION AND MANAGEMENT Title: Influence of Long-term Livestock Grazing Exclusion on the Response of Sagebrush Steppe Plant Communities to Fire

Authors
item Davies, Kirk
item Svejcar, Anthony
item Bates, Jonathan

Submitted to: High Desert Ranch Family Newsletter
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2009
Publication Date: March 1, 2009
Citation: Davies, K.W., Svejcar, A.J., Bates, J.D. 2009. Influence of Long-term Livestock Grazing Exclusion on the Response of Sagebrush Steppe Plant Communities to Fire. High Desert Ranch Family Newsletter. Spring 2009:2-6 (Extension Publication)

Interpretive Summary: Ecosystem management directed at restoring historical disturbance regimes may be inappropriate under modern conditions. Moderately grazing sagebrush plant communities with livestock, though not part of the historical disturbance regime, increased the tolerance of the perennial herbaceous vegetation to fire and promoted resistance to cheatgrass invasion. However, mimicking the historical disturbance regime of minimal large herbivore pressure and periodical fire promoted cheatgrass invasion. This study suggests that moderate levels of livestock grazing may be critical to protecting sagebrush plant communities and wildlife dependent on them.

Technical Abstract: Ecosystem management directed at restoring historical disturbance regimes may be inappropriate under modern conditions. Moderately grazing sagebrush plant communities with livestock, though not part of the historical disturbance regime, increased the tolerance of the perennial herbaceous vegetation to fire and promoted resistance to cheatgrass invasion. However, mimicking the historical disturbance regime of minimal large herbivore pressure and periodical fire promoted cheatgrass invasion. This study suggests that moderate levels of livestock grazing may be critical to protecting sagebrush plant communities and wildlife dependent on them.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page