• Using Leaf Traits to Rank Native Grasses According to Their Nutritive Value

      Khaled, Raounda Al Haj; Duru, Michel; Decruyenaere, Virginie; Jouany, Claire; Cruz, Pablo (Society for Range Management, 2006-11-01)
      Leaf traits (leaf dry matter content [LDMC], specific leaf area [SLA] and leaf life span [LLS]) previously proposed to predict plant strategies for resource use, were studied to test if they can be used to rank grasses for digestible organic matter (DOM). On 14 native grass species from natural meadows in the French Pyrenees, leaf blade chemical components (fiber, cellulose, hemi-cellulose and lignin) and DOM were estimated for two growing periods using two different methods (chemical-enzymatic and Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy). The ranking of species based on LDMC, SLA and LLS was conserved. Fiber content and DOM were significantly correlated even though the data were obtained in different years (2001 and 2002), on different organs (youngest adult blades in 2001 and all the green blades of tillers in 2002) and by different analytical methods. LDMC seems to be the most suitable trait to rank native grasses according to their nutritive value because it ranks species as well as leaf traits and it is the easiest to measure. We suggest using LDMC as an indicator to rank grassland communities for herbage nutritive values.
    • Vegetation Characteristics Across Part of the Wyoming Big Sagebrush Alliance

      Davies, Kirk W.; Bates, Jonathan D.; Miller, Richard F. (Society for Range Management, 2006-11-01)
      The Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. Wyomingensis [Beetle A. Young] S.L. Welsh) alliance is the most extensive of the big sagebrush complex in the Intermountain West. This alliance provides critical habitat for many sagebrush obligate and facultative wildlife species and serves as a forage base for livestock production. There is a lack of information that describes vegetation cover values, characteristics, diversity, and heterogeneity of the Wyoming big sagebrush alliance. This study describes vegetation cover values and defines distinct associations for intact, late-seral Wyoming big sagebrush plant communities across part of its northwestern range. We sampled 107 Wyoming big sagebrush plant communities. Total herbaceous cover values were variable among sites with differences between sites exceeding 700%. Mean sagebrush cover was 12.3% with 90% of the sites producing 6% to 20% cover. Tall forb (.18 cm) cover averaged 1.9% and 90% of the sites varied between 0.2% and 5.6% cover. Five associations delineated by dominant perennial bunchgrass species were identified: ARTRW8 (Wyoming big sagebrush)/PSSP6 (Pseudoroegneria spicata [Pursh] A. Löve, bluebunch wheatgrass), ARTRW8/ACTH7 (Achnatherum thurberianum [Piper] Barkworth, Thurber’s needlegrass), ARTRW8/FEID (Festuca idahoensis Elmer, Idahofescue), ARTRW8/HECO26 (Hesperostipa comata [Trin. Rupr.] Barkworth, needle-and-thread), and ARTRW8/PSSP6-ACTH7 (a codominance of bluebunch wheatgrass and Thurber’s needlegrass). Our results suggest when the vegetation cover values proposed for sage-grouse are applied as requirements at or above the stand level, they exceed the ecological potentialof many of the sites sampled.