Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/10/2006
Publication Date: 2/9/2007
Citation: Bates, J.D. 2007. Western juniper control treatments; selective cutting and prescribed fire combinations [abstract]. Society for Range Management Meeting. Paper No.27
Technical Abstract: The expansion of western juniper the past 100 years in the northern Great Basin has reduced deciduous woodland and shrub-steppe productivity and diversity. Cutting or prescribed fire have been the primary methods used for removing juniper interference and rehabilitating pre-invasion plant communities. Cutting is typically used to remove juniper in invasive woodlands lacking sufficient fuel to carry fire. These woodlands are those in mid- to late-invasive phases. Prescribed fire has been used in stands where sufficient surface fuels remain to carry fire to remove the majority of invasive juniper. Burning is most successfully applied in woodlands in early to mid-invasive phases. Recently, we have employed combinations of selective cutting and fire to remove juniper in late-invasive woodlands. Selective cutting is used to increase surface fuels to carry prescribed fire and kill remaining juniper. The response of seven mountain big sagebrush associations and several aspen woodlands were evaluated for 3-5 years after juniper cutting-fire combinations were employed. Cutting treatments involved felling 25-75% of the juniper trees in stands. Trees were allowed to dry for one year before fire was applied. The results suggested that cutting only 25¬33% of the trees was needed to provide enough cured fuels to carry fire through stands and remove most remaining juniper. In aspen woodland, aspen root sprouting increased 4 to 8 fold in response to treatments when compared to controls. Shrub cover was reduced in all plant associations in response to the various treatments, though sprouting shrubs were recovering and sagebrush seedlings were present on most treated sites. Understory response varied, from plots dominated by exotic species to sites mainly composed of native perennial grasses and forbs. The majority of treated sites exhibited classic early successional dynamics after fire in juniper woodlands, with the understory primarily composed of native perennial and annual forbs.