Submitted to: Ecology and Management of Pinyon Juniper Communities Within The Interior W
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2005
Publication Date: 5/16/2005
Citation: Bates, J.D., Miller, R., Svejcar, A.J. 2005. Western juniper control: management techniques and vegetation dynamics [abstract]. Ecology and Management of Pinyon Juniper Communities Within The Interior W. Paper No. 52.
Technical Abstract: In the past 30 years western juniper has been controlled by a variety of mechanical cutting methods and by prescribed fire in the northern Great Basin. Cutting is commonly used to remove trees in plant communities in mid to late successional stages where juniper competition has eliminated the shrub component and reduced understory production. These stands lack sufficient ground fuel to carry a fire through a stand. Recently we have evaluated combinations of cutting and fire to remove juniper. The cutting is used to create a fuels base to carry fire through the remainder of the juniper stand. Cutting fewer numbers of trees may reduce costs of juniper control projects. The main objectives of the research are to; assess what level of cutting is required to eliminate remaining juniper trees by fire; and evaluate fire disturbance effects to mountain sagebrush and aspen plant communities. Tree cutting manipulations were chainsaw cutting 25%, 33%, 50%, and 75% of the juniper followed by fall or spring prescribed fire. Results indicate that cutting 25-33% of mature trees is sufficient to remove most remaining trees in a stand with fall prescribed fire. Impacts to understory cover and composition were highly variable with fall fire. The understory required 1-3 years to recover to pre-burn cover levels. The spring burn was less successful at removing juniper particularly seedlings and juveniles. However the understory in the spring burns was only slightly impacted and by the 3rd season after fire understory cover had tripled compared to untreated controls.