Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/22/2015
Publication Date: 11/1/2015
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/61910
Citation: Hulet, A., Boyd, C.S., Davies, K.W., Svejcar, A.J. 2015. Prefire (preemptive) management to decrease fire-induced bunchgrass mortality and reduce reliance on postfire seeding. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 68(6):437-444. doi: 10.1016/j.rama.2015.08.001.
Interpretive Summary: To successfully manage sagebrush rangelands, we must focus on increasing resilience to fire and resistance to exotic annual grass invasion. Here we present a preemptive restoration model that recognizes that plant communities described by fuel attributes may have starkly different probabilities of transitioning to an undesired state following fire. For the preemptive restoration model to be effective, further research is needed that evaluates the interaction between biotic and abiotic factors. Hence, we identify potential gaps in current scientific knowledge and provide a framework within which research objectives can be linked to land management decisions.
Technical Abstract: Western rangelands are currently under severe threat from exotic annual grasses. To successfully manage rangelands that are either infested with or susceptible to exotic annual grasses, we must focus on increasing resilience to disturbance and resistance to exotic annual grass invasion. Here, we present a preemptive restoration model and research framework for Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) rangelands that focuses on increasing resilience to fire and resistance to exotic annual grasses. In order for the preemptive restoration model to be effective in guiding land management practices, research evaluating the interactions between biotic and abiotic factors, and the associated probability of transitioning from a desired to undesired state following fire is needed. If biotic factors, such as fuel loading, can be modified to reduce fire severity then land managers would have a powerful tool to preemptively manage relatively intact sagebrush plant communities.