Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/12/2011
Publication Date: 5/12/2012
Citation: Davies, K.W. 2012. Fire management to prevent and control exotic annual grass invasion [abstract]. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. Paper No. 0056.
Technical Abstract: Management of fire is often a critical component of exotic plant prevention and control. It is especially important in the sagebrush ecosystem where exotic annual grasses are spreading rapidly. Historically, in the sagebrush ecosystem, infrequent fires shifted vegetation dominance from sagebrush to perennial grasses and forbs. Unfortunately, fires in lower elevation sagebrush now often promote exotic annual grass invasion. At higher elevations, a lack of fire allows pinyon/juniper encroachment, thereby potentially decreasing perennial grass abundance and promoting exotic annual grass establishment. Exotic annual grass invasion often promotes frequent wildfires creating a grass-fire cycle that facilitates the continued dominance of the community by annual grasses. In exotic annual grass-invaded plant communities, it is critical to break the grass-fire cycle to prevent the continued expansion of annual grasses. However, fires can be used to help control exotic annual grasses and establish perennial bunchgrasses. Early summer fires that occur before annual grass seed maturity can decrease exotic annual grasses and increase the success of subsequently seeded perennial bunchgrasses. Prescribed burning can be used to remove litter to improve pre-emergent herbicide control of annual grasses and create a favorable seedbed for perennial bunchgrass establishment. Fire management that promotes or maintains perennial bunchgrasses is critical to successful invasive annual grass prevention and control. Proper fire management will vary depending on site and plant community characteristics.