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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Forage and Range Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #313577

Research Project: Develop Improved Plant Genetic Resources to Enhance Pasture and Rangeland Productivity in the Semiarid Regions of the Western U.S.

Location: Forage and Range Research

Title: Evaluation of regionally-collected sideoats grams and big galleta grass for wildfire revegetation in the Eastern Upper Mojave Desert

Author
item Staub, Jack
item Robbins, Matthew

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2015
Publication Date: 4/10/2015
Citation: Staub, J.E., Robbins, M.D. 2015. Evaluation of regionally-collected sideoats grams and big galleta grass for wildfire revegetation in the Eastern Upper Mojave Desert. Meeting Abstract.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Increased wildfires in the western U.S. are due to the cyclic accumulation and burning of invasive annual plants such as cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and red brome (B. rubens), which reduces native rangeland species and results in severe economic losses and land degradation. Fire was not prevalent in the Upper Mojave Desert prior to the invasion of red brome, but recent fires have had substantial environmental, economic, and social impacts. Rangeland plants need to be developed that compete with the invasive weeds to break the fire cycles and establish sustainable and diverse ecosystems. Two factors affecting persistence after wildfires are seed predation and regrowth after burns. A program was established to develop big galleta (Pleuraphis rigida) and sideoats grams (Bouteloua curtipendula) that will establish, persist, compete with weeds, and revegetate after fires. These grass species possess tolerance to grazing and drought, creeping ability, large plant stature, and regrowth after fire challenge (data to be presented). No cultivars of big galleta have been released and the cureent cultivars of sideoats grama were developed for the Great Plains. Thus, these species are being collected from Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. The Beaver Dam Wash and The Red Cliffs Reserve in Washington County, UT, have been selected as sites for evaluation of collected plant material. These evaluations will result in the identification of plant materials for subsequent use in plant improvement to increase sustainability, reduce the impact of wildfires, and contribute to the reclamation of burned lands in the Upper Mojave Desert.