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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Burns, Oregon » Range and Meadow Forage Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #340510

Research Project: Restoring and Managing Great Basin Ecosystems

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

Title: Established perennial vegetation provides high resistance to reinvasion by exotic annual grasses

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

Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2017
Publication Date: 10/10/2017
Citation: Davies, K.W., Johnson, D.D. 2017. Established perennial vegetation provides high resistance to reinvasion by exotic annual grasses. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 70(6):748-754. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2017.06.001.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2017.06.001

Interpretive Summary: Revegetation of exotic annual grass-invaded sagebrush steppe is needed to restore ecosystem services (forage production, habitat, etc.). The ability of different common revegetation species and combinations of species to limit reinvasion of annual grasses after control is relatively unknown. We evaluated five species/combinations of perennial native and introduced bunchgrass and shrub species planted as seedlings after exotic annual grass control. Exotic annual grass reinvasion was greatly limited in all treatments where perennial seedlings were planted compared to the control (no seedlings planted) treatment. Treatments that included crested wheatgrass generally limited annual grasses more than other treatments. Forage kochia generally limited exotic annual grasses less than other treatments. Established native vegetation also greatly reduced exotic annual grass reinvasion. This information is useful to land managers as they select species to revegetate annual grass-invaded sagebrush steppe.

Technical Abstract: Exotic annual grasses have invaded millions of hectares of sagebrush (Artemisia L.) steppe in the Great Basin region and degraded wildlife habitat, reduced forage production, and promoted increasingly frequent wildfires. Revegetation after control of exotic annual grasses is needed to restore ecosystem services and break the annual grass-fire cycle. The ability of different common revegetation species and combinations of species to limit reinvasion of annual grasses is relatively unknown. We evaluated five species/combinations of perennial native and introduced bunchgrass and shrub species planted as seedlings after exotic annual grass control at two sites in southeast Oregon. To evaluate resistance to reinvasion, exotic annual grasses were seeded into all treatment plots in the fall two growing seasons after planting. Vegetation characteristics were measured in the third and fourth years after annual grass seeding. Exotic annual grass cover and density were greatly reduced in all treatments where perennial seedlings were planted compared to the control (no seedlings planted). Treatments including crested wheatgrass (Agropyron desertorum [Fisch. Ex Link] Schult) generally limited annual grasses more than other treatments. Most notably, forage kochia (Bassia prostata [L.] A.J. Scott) reduced exotic annual grasses less than crested wheatgrass and crested wheatgrass planted with forage kochia. This may suggest that forage kochia should be used only in conjunction with perennial bunchgrasses in efforts to revegetate exotic annual grass-invaded sagebrush steppe. Established native vegetation also greatly reduced exotic annual grass reinvasion. Though some differences existed among established vegetation treatments, our study highlights that established perennial vegetation prevents re-domination by invasives after exotic annual grass control.