Submitted to: Range Management Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/29/2003
Publication Date: 2/3/2003
Citation: Hendrickson, J.R., D.A. Johnson, N.Z. Saliendra, J.W. Walker, and H.D. Blackburn. Big Sagebrush Leaf Area Dynamics on a Burned, Grazed and Control Site in the Sagebrush Steppe. 2003. Society of Range Management Annual Meeting, Casper, WY.
Technical Abstract: Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) is an important shrub for wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration in the western U.S. The effects of fire and grazing on leaf area development of big sagebrush were investigated in plots established on a 16-ha burned site, a 12-ha grazed site and 16-ha control site at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station near Dubois, Idaho. The burned site was burned in October 1995, and grazing at the grazed site occurred in the spring and fall of each year. Leaf area for big sagebrush was estimated in 1998 using the reference unit technique. In 1999, changes in big sagebrush leaf area were estimated by harvesting 5 leaders from 30 shrubs every 2 weeks beginning on 2 June 1999. Values of peak leaf area for big sagebrush in 1998 were 2290, 2022 and 224 cm2/m2 for the control, grazed and burned sites, respectively. From 2 June 1999 to peak growth on 28 June 1999, leaf area of big sagebrush increased at a rate of 0.05cm-2 day-1. Initial and peak leaf area per leader were higher at the grazed site than that at the burned and control sites. Grazing may have reduced competition from the associated vegetation and resulted in greater big sagebrush leaf area on the grazed site. Understanding leaf area dynamics of big sagebrush is important in the development of models to predict changes in carbon sequestration and wildlife habitat.