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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #314102

Research Project: Invasive Species Assessment and Control to Enhance Sustainability of Great Basin Rangelands

Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research

Title: Bromus tectorum and native grass establishment under drought and warming in sagebrush steppe after fire

item Newingham, Beth
item SUAZO, ALEXIS - University Of Idaho
item GERMINO, MATTHEW - Us Geological Survey (USGS)

Submitted to: Society of Range Management
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Fire and climate change are two important drivers of desert plant communities. Changes in precipitation and temperature due to climate change will create novel environmental conditions that will likely affect post-fire plant establishment, invasions, and eventually alter plant community assemblages. In a field experiment, we reduced precipitation using rainout shelters and increased temperature using open-sided warming frames in sagebrush steppe communities in the Great Basin. At five burned sites, we established control, drought, warming, and drought + warming plots. Seeds of two native perennial grasses (Elymus elymoides and Pseudoroegneria spicata) used in post-fire rehabilitation and an invasive annual grass (Bromus tectorum) were sown in experimental plots. We measured seedling emergence, density, survival, biomass, height, and specific leaf area to evaluate native and non-native species responses to drought and warming. Native grass emergence was low in drought and warmed plots. However, warming increased native grass height and specific leaf area. Bromus emerged in all treatments, but drought and warming negatively affected Bromus biomass, plant height, and high specific leaf area. Our results suggest that native and non-native species may respond differently to future climate. Individual species responses to climate change are likely to result in altered species interactions and thus plant communities.