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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

2008 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
1) Evaluate the effects of fire, mechanical treatments, livestock grazing, introduced invasive weeds, western juniper expansion, and climate on the vegetation and watershed function of sagebrush steppe rangelands. 2) Improve our understanding of livestock behavior and livestock/environment interactions. Improve tools to manipulate livestock behavior and grazing patterns. 3) Understand mechanisms of weed invasion and develop management strategies that can be used to restore rangelands that have been degraded by weeds or other disturbances.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
The mission of the Burns unit is to provide the science for sound land and livestock management. This five-year plan builds on a rich history of research at this location, in some cases reaching back to the 1940's. Rangelands of the Great Basin are spatially variable and land ownership patterns are a complex mix of public and private land. Annual weather variation is high, and can obscure vegetation responses to management treatments. Ranching forms the basis of the regional economy, underscoring the importance of forage production, and the large percentage of public land in the region translates into public scrutiny of management actions, and a focus on environmental impacts and biodiversity. Invasive species and expanding juniper populations represent major threats to existing land uses and values. Our research program has evolved with substantial public input and addresses questions raised by our customers. Land managers in this region are faced with information gaps in basic sagebrush steppe ecology, vegetation responses to management actions, plant community restoration, seedling establishment and livestock grazing management. Our research program will fill some of those gaps while expanding and enhancing current ecological theory and building on our long-term data sets. The unit also has a commitment to synthesizing research information and developing management tools. Formerly 5360-11630-005-00D (1/08).

3. Progress Report
Under Objective 1 we have established plots and initiated data collection for the juniper hydrology project (1.A); initiated treatments and data collection on the fire/grazing study (1.B), and are nearly done analyzing long-term weather data for 1.C. Objective 2 was collected for 2008. These two objectives tier to Component 1, Problem Statement A in the NP215 Action Plan. Plots were established and data collections was initiated for the four sub-objectives (A-D) associated with Objective 3. This objective is tiered to Component 1, Problem Statement C in the NP 215 Action Plan.

4. Accomplishments
1. This project replace project 5360-11630-005-00D in January 2008. Please see project 5360-11630-005-00D for more information and accomplishments.

Review Publications
Jess, W., Svejcar, A.J., Angell, R.F. 2008. The Effect of Grazing Duration on Forage Quality and Production of Meadow Foxtail. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 88:85-92

Bates, J.D., Miller, R.F., Svejcar, A.J. 2007. Long-term zonal vegetation dynamics in a cut western juniper woodland. Western North American Naturalist. 67:(4)549-561

Sheley, R.L., Bates, J.D. 2008. Restoring western juniper infested rangeland after prescribed fire. Weed Science. 56:469-476.

Davies, K.W., Sheley, R.L., Bates, J.D. 2008. Does fall prescribed burning artemisia tridentata steppe promote invasion or resistance to invasion after a recovery period?. Journal of Arid Environments 72:1076-1085.

Davies, K.W., Bates, J.D., Miller, R. 2007. Short-term effects of burning wyoming big sagebrush steppe in southeast oregon. Rangeland Ecology and Management.60:515-522.

Davies, K.W., Bates, J.D. 2008. The response of thurber's needlegrass to fall prescribed burning. Rangeland Ecology and Management. Rangeland Ecol Manage 61:188-193

Ganskopp, D.C., Johnson, D.D. 2008. Gps collar sampling frequency: affects on measures of resource use. Rangeland Ecology and Management. Rangeland Ecol Manage 61:226-231.

France, K., Ganskopp, D.C., Boyd, C.S. 2008. Interspace/under-canopy foraging patterns of beef cattle in sagebrush. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 61(4):389-393

Mangold, J.M., James, J.J., Sheley, R.L. 2007. Presence of soil surface depressions increases water uptake by native grass seeds.. Ecological Restoration. 25(4):278-279

Davies, K.W. 2008. Medusahead Dispersal and Establishment in Sagebrush Steppe Plant Communities. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 61(1):110-115.

Davies, K.W., Sheley, R.L. 2007. Influence of neighboring vegetation height on seed dispersal: implications to invasive plant management. Weed Science 55:626-630

James, J.J., Davies, K.W., Sheley, R.L., Aanderud, Z.T. 2008. Linking nitrogen partitioning and species abundance to invasion resistance in the great basin. Oecologia. 156:637-648.

Drenovsky, R., Martin, C., Falasco, M., James, J.J. 2008. Variation in resource acqisition and utilization traits between native and invasive perennial forbs. American Journal of Botany.95(6):681-687.

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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