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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Burns, Oregon » Range and Meadow Forage Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #329956

Research Project: Restoring and Managing Great Basin Ecosystems

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

Title: Sagebrush steppe recovery after fire varies by successional phase of western juniper woodland

Author
item Bates, Jonathan - Jon
item Davies, Kirk

Submitted to: Oregon Agriculture Experiment Station Special Report
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/18/2016
Publication Date: 7/1/2016
Citation: Bates, J.D., Davies, K.W. 2016. Sagebrush steppe recovery after fire varies by successional phase of western juniper woodland. Ecology and Hydrology of Western Juniper Range Field Day 2016. Oregon State University Special Report. p. 40-45.

Interpretive Summary: Western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook.) has expanded and infilled into other plant communities the past 130 to 150 years in the semi-arid Pacific Northwest. The increase in juniper reduces herbaceous forage and browse provided by shrubs for livestock and big-game. We measured herbaceous production in a variety of plant communities following cutting or prescribed fire treatments in Phase 1 and 2 (early to mid-succession) and Phase 3 (late-succession) western juniper woodlands. Herbaceous production increased but results varied depending on site potential and woodland removal method. Woodland cutting resulted in herbaceous production increases of 50% (Phase 2) up to 700% (Phase 3). Prescribed fire resulted in 2 to 3-fold increases in herbaceous production in Phase 1 and 2 woodlands and 3 to 10-fold in Phase 3 woodlands.

Technical Abstract: Western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook.) has expanded and infilled into other plant communities the past 130 to 150 years in the semi-arid Pacific Northwest. The increase in juniper reduces herbaceous forage and browse provided by shrubs for livestock and big-game. We measured herbaceous production in a variety of plant communities following cutting or prescribed fire treatments in Phase 1 and 2 (early to mid-succession) and Phase 3 (late-succession) western juniper woodlands. Herbaceous production increased but results varied depending on site potential and woodland removal method. Woodland cutting resulted in herbaceous production increases of 50% (Phase 2) up to 700% (Phase 3). Prescribed fire resulted in 2 to 3-fold increases in herbaceous production in Phase 1 and 2 woodlands and 3 to 10-fold in Phase 3 woodlands.