Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Burns, Oregon » Range and Meadow Forage Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #380245

Research Project: Restoration and Conservation of Great Basin Ecosystems

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

Title: Living with exotic annual grasses in the sagebrush ecosystem

Author
item Davies, Kirk
item LEGER, ELIZABETH - University Of Nevada
item Boyd, Chad
item HALLET, LAUREN - University Of Oregon

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/4/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Exotic annual grasses dominate millions of hectares and increase fire frequency in the sagebrush ecosystem of North America. In this synthesis, we suggest a strategic framework to improve and prioritize restoration efforts. Even with improve restoration, vast areas will remain exotic annual grasslands, because of their expansiveness and the low probability of transition to perennial dominance. We propose referring to these communities as Intermountain Annual Grasslands, recognizing that they are a stable state and require different management goals and objectives than perennial-dominated communities. This synthesis is of interest to policy makers, land managers, wildlife biologists, and scientists

Technical Abstract: Exotic annual grasses dominate millions of hectares and increase fire frequency in the sagebrush ecosystem of North America. This devastating invasion is so costly and challenging to revegetate with perennial vegetation that restoration efforts need to be strategically implemented. Management needs to break the annual grass-fire cycle and prevent invasion of new areas, while research is needed to improve restoration success. Under current land management and climate regimes, vast areas will remain annual grasslands, because of their expansiveness and the low probability of transition to perennial dominance. We propose referring to these communities as Intermountain Annual Grasslands, recognizing that they are a stable state and require different management goals and objectives. We need to learn to live with annual grasslands, reducing their costs and increasing benefits derived from them, at the same time maintaining landscape-level plant diversity that could allow transition to perennial dominance under future scenarios.