Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/22/2006
Publication Date: 3/1/2006
Citation: Thompson, T.W., Roundy, B.A., Mcarthur, E.D., Jessop, B.D., Waldron, B.L., Davis, J.N. 2006. Fire rehabiliation using native and introduced species: a landscape trial. Rangeland Ecology and Management 59:237-248
Interpretive Summary: A study was conducted to look at best seeding practices and best seed mixes to revegetate big sagebrush rangelands following wildfire. Seeding a high rate of native-only species was successful but was economically prohibitive due to the seed costs and high seeding rates. Standard BLM and ARS mixtures of both native and introduced species were also very successful and cost 80% less than the high rate of native-only mix. Aerially-seeded and chained plots had similar and successful seeded species frequency, cover, and density among all species mixes. All seeded plots had lower cover of annual species than unseeded plots, indicating that revegetation is necessary to reduce weed invasion followig catastrophic wildfire in big sagebrush communities lacking residual perennial understory vegetation.
Technical Abstract: Following the 1999 Railroad Fire in Tintic Valley, Utah, we initiated a large-scale fire rehabilitation study comparing a predominately introduced species seed mix used by the US Department of Interior-Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a mix of native and introduced species provided by the US Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (ARS), and 2 native seed mixes (high and low diversity). Mixes were seeded with a rangeland drill on the big sagebrush (Artemisia tyridentata var. wyomingenis [Beetle & A. Young] Welsh) study area whereas the pinyon-juniper (Pinus edulis Engelm.-Juniperus osteosperma [Torr.] Little) woodland study area was aerially seeded followed by 1-way chaining. On drill-seeded plots and by the third year after seeding the native high-diversity mix (16.4 kg pure live seed [PLS].ha-1) had the highest seeded species cover (11.5%) and density (14 plants.m-2). Both the BLM (9.3 kg PLS.ha-1) and ARS (9.1 kg PLS.ha-1) seed mixes had higher seeded species cover (BLM=8.5%, ARS=8.2%) and density (BLM=8.4 and ARS=7.2 plants.m-2) than plots seeded to the low-diversity native mix (8 kg PLS-ha-1, cover=3.8%, density=3.6 plants.m-2). Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides [Roemer and J. A. Schultes] Barkworth 'Nezpar') in the native high-diversity mix was especially successful on the sandy soils of the drill site, whereas seeds of other species may have been buried too deep for optimum emergence. Aeriallly-seeded and chained plots had similar and successful seeded species frequency, cover, and density (third-year average=10.6% cover, 17.2 plants.m-2) among all species mixes. All seeded plots had lower cover of annual species than unseeded plots, indicating that revegetation is necessary to reduce weed invasion following catastrophic wildfire in big sagebrush communities lacking residual perennial understory vegetation.