Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVED PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES FOR PASTURES AND RANGELANDS IN THE TEMPERATE SEMIARID REGIONS OF THE WESTERN U.S.

Location: Forage and Range Research

Title: Seedling Interference and Niche Differentiation Between Crested Wheatgrass and Contrasting Native Great Basin Species

Authors
item Gunnell, Kevin -
item Monaco, Thomas
item Call, Christopher -
item Ransom, Corey -

Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 6, 2009
Publication Date: January 30, 2010
Citation: Gunnell, K.L., Monaco, T.A., Call, C.A., Ransom, C.V. 2010. Seedling Interference and Niche Differentiation Between Crested Wheatgrass and Contrasting Native Great Basin Species. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 63:443-449.

Interpretive Summary: Interference from crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum [L.] Gaertn.) seedlings is considered a major obstacle to native species establishment; however, estimates of interference at variable seedling densities have not been fully defined. We conducted greenhouse experiments using an additional series to characterize interference between crested wheatgrass and four important native species. Crested wheatgrass strongly interfered with the aboveground growth of Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingenis Beetle & Young), rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa [Pall. ex Pursh] G.L. Nesom & Baird ssp. consimilis [Greene] G.L. Nesom & Baird), and to a lesser extent with bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata [Pursh] A. Love. Alternatively, bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus elymoides [Raf.] Swezey ssp. elymoides and crested wheatgrass had similar effects on each other's growth. Results indicate that the native grasses more readily establish in synchrony with crested wheatgrass than these native shrubs, but that once established, the native shrubs are more likely to coexist and persist with crested wheatgrass because of high niche differentiation. Results also suggest that developing strategies to minimize interference from crested wheatgrass seedling emerging from seed banks will enhance the establishment of native species seeded into crested wheatgrass-dominated communities.

Technical Abstract: Interference from crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum [L.} Gaertn.) seedlings is considered a major obstacle to native species establishment; however, estimates of interference at variable seedling densities have not been fully defined. We conducted greenhouse experiments using an addition series design to characterize interference between crested wheatgrsss and for imporant native species. Crested wheatgrass strongly interfered with the aboveground growth of Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt. ssp. wyomingenis Beetle & Young), rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa [Pall. ex Pursh] G.L. Nesom & Baird ssp. consimilis [Greene] G.L. Neson & Baird), and to a lesser extent with bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata [Pursh} A. Love. Alternatively, bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus elymoides [Raf.] Swezey ssp. elymoides and crested wheatgrass had similar effects on each other's growth. Results indicate that the native grasses more readily establish in synchrony with crested wheatgrass than these native shrubs, but that once established, the native shrubs are more likely to coexist and persist with crested wheatgrass because of high niche differentiation. Results also suggest that developing strategies to minimize interference from crested wheatgrass seedlings emerging from seed banks will enhance the establishment of native species seeded into crested wheatgrass-dominated communities.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page