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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Burns, Oregon » Range and Meadow Forage Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #329550

Research Project: Restoring and Managing Great Basin Ecosystems

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

Title: Effect of aspect on sagebrush steppe recovery post-fire juniper woodlands

Author
item Davies, Kirk
item Bates, Audrey
item Johnson, Dustin - Oregon State University

Submitted to: Oregon Agriculture Experiment Station Special Report
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/7/2016
Publication Date: 7/1/2016
Citation: Davies, K.W., Bates, A.A., Johnson, D.D. 2016. Effect of aspect on sagebrush steppe recovery post-fire juniper woodlands. Ecology and Hydrology of Western Juniper Range Field Day 2016. Oregon State University Special Report. p. 29-34.

Interpretive Summary: Restoration of sagebrush after controlling encroaching western juniper with fire in mountain big sagebrush communities is needed to improve wildlife habitat. We evaluated seeding mountain and Wyoming big sagebrush on north and south aspects after juniper control with prescribed burning. We included seeding Wyoming big sagebrush, a more drought tolerant subspecies of big sagebrush, because it might grow better than mountain big sagebrush on hot, dry south slopes or during drought. Seeding mountain big sagebrush generally increased sagebrush cover and density compared to unseeded controls and seeding Wyoming big sagebrush. Natural recovery of sagebrush was occurring on north aspects with sagebrush cover averaging 3% four years post-fire. Sagebrush was not detected on unseeded south aspects at the end of the study. Sagebrush cover and density was generally greater on north compared to south aspects, suggesting that post-fire sagebrush recovery, with and without seeding, will be variable across the landscape based on topography.

Technical Abstract: Restoration of sagebrush after controlling encroaching western juniper with fire in mountain big sagebrush communities is needed to improve wildlife habitat. We evaluated seeding mountain and Wyoming big sagebrush on north and south aspects after juniper control with prescribed burning. We included seeding Wyoming big sagebrush, a more drought tolerant subspecies of big sagebrush, because it might grow better than mountain big sagebrush on hot, dry south slopes or during drought. Seeding mountain big sagebrush generally increased sagebrush cover and density compared to unseeded controls and seeding Wyoming big sagebrush. Natural recovery of sagebrush was occurring on north aspects with sagebrush cover averaging 3% four years post-fire. Sagebrush was not detected on unseeded south aspects at the end of the study. Sagebrush cover and density was generally greater on north compared to south aspects, suggesting that post-fire sagebrush recovery, with and without seeding, will be variable across the landscape based on topography.