• Observations of predator activity at wildlife water developments in southern Arizona

      DeStefano, S.; Schmidt, S. L.; DeVos, J. C. (Society for Range Management, 2000-05-01)
      Wildlife water developments have been constructed and maintained throughout the arid western United States to benefit big game and upland gamebird populations. There is debate, however, over possible detriments to wildlife from artificial water sources in deserts and other arid environments. One concern is that water developments attract predators, which then impact the prey populations that these developments are intended to benefit. To examine the extent of predator activity around water developments, we examined 15 paired water and non-water (random) sites for sign (scats, tracks, visual observations, animal parts such as feathers and bones, and carcasses) of predators and prey. Predator sign was 7x greater around water sites than non-water sites (P = 0.002). Coyote (Canis latrans Say) sign accounted for 79% of all predator sign and was 7x greater near water than away from water (P = 0.006). Amount of sign for all prey species combined was not different between paired sites (P = 0.6), but results for individual species and groups of species was variable; passerine and gallinaceous bird sign was greater around water sites (P = 0.008), ungulate sign was not different between water and non-water sites (P greater than or equal to 0.20), and lagomorph sign was almost 2x greater away from water than near water (P = 0.05). Predators were probably attracted to wildlife water developments to drink rather than hunt; without water developments, predators may be even more concentrated around the fewer natural water sites.
    • Picloram, fertilizer, and defoliation interactions on spotted knapweed reinvasion

      Jacobs, J. S.; Sheley, R. L.; Carter, J. R. (Society for Range Management, 2000-05-01)
      Spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa Lam.) management may be enhanced by integrating strategies that stimulate and maintain competitive grasses. The objective of this study was to determine if picloram, fertilizer, and timing and frequency of grass defoliation could be integrated to minimize spotted knapweed reinvasion. Sixteen chemical treatments [4 picloram rates (0.00, 0.14, 0.28, and 0.42 kg a.i. ha- 1) and 4 fertilizer rates (source: 16-20-0, N-P-K; material: 0.0, 66, 132, 198 kg ha-1)] were applied in the spring of 1994 to 4 by 4 m plots and factorially arranged in a randomized-complete-block design. Within each plot, 6 grass defoliation treatments were randomly applied to 1 by 1 m sub-plots. From 1994 through 1997, 60% of the aboveground grass biomass was hand clipped and removed from the plots during the spring, summer, fall, alternating spring/fall, all 3 seasons. A control received no grass defoliation. The experiment was replicated 4 times at 2 sites dominated by spotted knapweed. At peak standing crop in 1997 spotted knapweed density, grass and spotted knapweed biomass; and percent cover of spotted knapweed, grass, litter, and bare ground were measured. Data were analyzed as a split-plot using analysis of variance. Four years after treatment all rates of picloram reduced spotted knapweed density, biomass, and cover, and increased grass yield. Nitrogen and P fertilizer tended to increase spotted knapweed density and biomass. Nitrogen and P fertilizer plus defoliation in all 3 seasons caused a greater increase in spotted knapweed reinvasion at the site with Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) than the site with timothy (Phleum pratense L.) and smooth brome (Bromus inermis Leys.). Fall-only defoliation and no defoliation appear to deter spotted knapweed reinvasion better than defoliation in all 3 seasons and alternately in the spring and fall.
    • Postburning legume seeding in the Flooding Pampas, Argentina

      Juan, V. F.; Monterroso, L.; Sacido, M. B.; Cauhépé, M. A. (Society for Range Management, 2000-05-01)
      In Argentina, Paspalum quadrifarium Lam. (paja colorada) forms tall dense grassland communities in the flooding pampas. Referred to locally as “pajonales”, these grasslands generally have very low nutritional value for cattle, except at the post-burn regrowth stage. To improve forage quality and consumption by breeding cattle, Lotus tenuis Walst et Kit. is over seeded immediately after burning of paja colorada pajonales. The objectives of this experiment were to follow the after seeding cover of lotus, evaluate weed control, and assess disease incidence and severity.The experiment was carried out in Azul, Buenos Aires provinceof Argentina, between September 1993 to September 1996. The postburn seedbed was very favorable for lotus germination and establishment. The most effective chemical weed control was obtained with 2,4-DB used alone or in combination with dicamba. Lotus increased markedly the quality of the pasture forage due to its high crude protein content. Four fungus diseases were found: Botrytis cinerea Pers., Stem phylium sp. Wallroth, Uromyces loti Blytt. and Fusarium spp. Link ex Fr. However, these caused only light foliar damage and did not impair lotus germination or establishment. The overseeding of lotus after burning of P. quadrifarium pajonales, is a very effective technique to improve carrying capacity and animal performance.
    • Quantifying spatial heterogeneity in herbage mass and consumption in pastures

      Hirata, M. (Society for Range Management, 2000-05-01)
      A sward-based technique for quantifying the spatial heterogeneity in herbage mass and consumption was developed and tested in a bahia grass (Paspalum notatum Flügge) pasture grazed by cattle. For five, 2-day grazing periods from May to October, pre- and post-grazing herbage masses were nondestructively estimated with an electronic capacitance probe at 182, 50x50 cm locations along 2 permanent line transects. At the same time, undisturbed herbage accumulation during grazing was measured inside exclosures and the results used to estimate accumulation under grazing at each location. Estimation of herbage mass was relatively good; R2= 0.88 to 0.98. Spatial heterogeneity in herbage mass and the stability of the spatial pattern were well quantified. The pattern of spatial heterogeneity observed early in the grazing season remained quite stable for 5 months until the late grazing season. Spatial heterogeneity in the rate of defoliation was also well quantified in spite of some negative values. The technique is of potential value for quantifying the spatial hetero-geneity in herbage mass and consumption by animals in grazed pastures, though further studies are necessary for testing the applicability of the technique to pastures of other plant species or of multiple species.
    • Soil properties and species diversity of grazed crested wheatgrass and native rangelands

      Krzic, M.; Broersma, K.; Thompson, D. J.; Bomke, A. A. (Society for Range Management, 2000-05-01)
      Crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn.) is an introduced grass used extensively for rangeland revegetation in the semiarid and arid regions of western North America. The long-term effects of crested wheatgrass on soil properties and plant community were evaluated on 5 grazed sites in the southern interior of British Columbia, Canada. Each site included plant communities of native bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata (Pursh) Scribn. & Smith) and 14- to 60-year-old stands of crested wheatgrass. Soil samples and plant data were collected in June 1997. Species numbers were similar for native and crested wheatgrass rangelands, while the diversity index of crested wheatgrass rangeland was lower due to lower evenness. Crested wheatgrass and native grasses were observed to produce similar amounts of root biomass. Most soil properties were similar under the 2 rangelands. One of the exceptions was soil carbon at 0–7.5 and 7.5–15 cm depths, which was higher on crested wheatgrass than native rangeland. Soil nitrogen at 15–30 cm depth was also higher on crested wheatgrass rangeland. Greater soil penetration resistance was observed at 7.5 and 9 cm depths on crested wheatgrass than native rangeland. Higher soil compaction was caused by grazing of crested wheatgrass earlier in the season when soils are wetter relative to the native rangeland. The results of this study indicate that seeding of crested wheatgrass combined with the long-term grazing by cattle did not result in the degradation of soil properties, but plant diversity was reduced relative to grazed native, bluebunch wheatgrass rangeland.
    • Viewpoint: Selecting the 5 most important papers in the first 50 years of the Journal of Range Management

      McClaran, M. P. (Society for Range Management, 2000-05-01)
      A graduate seminar to select the 5 most important papers published in the first 50 years of the Journal of Range Management (JRM), 1948–1997, cultivated an appreciation for the development of the discipline of rangeland science and management, and provided some historical perspective to judge the JRM. A review of textbooks, and papers describing early milestones and the use of citation counting were helpful in developing criteria to discriminate the importance of papers. The greatest disagreement among the 9 participants focused on the use of citation counts as a criterion: 2 students used only counts and 3 students refused to use counts. Eighteen papers received at least 1 vote as a top 5 paper, and 2 plant succession-vegetation monitoring papers were clearly the most popular. The exercise revealed that discontent with the JRM is not new. Although the JRM now covers a wider variety of topics, including both reductionist and synthetic works, some students felt that it was less encompassing of multiple values of rangelands and the breadth of rangeland science than recent texts. The students found that the selection of important papers expanded their understanding of the discipline and their resolve to publish in the JRM. Ideally, others will be challenged to perform this review for the benefit of students, the discipline, and the JRM.
    • Western ragweed effects on herbaceous standing crop in Great Plains grasslands

      Vermeire, L. T.; Gillen, R. L. (Society for Range Management, 2000-05-01)
      Western ragweed [Ambrosia psilostachya DC. ], a major forb species in mixed and tallgrass prairies, is considered to have little value for cattle grazing but is an important food item for bobwhite quail [Colinus virginianus]. While often thought to be a strong increaser with grazing pressure, information on the actual relationship between western ragweed and grasses is contradictory. Our objectives were to 1) determine the effect of western ragweed on grass standing crop, and 2) determine the effect of vegetation type and grazing on survival and shoot morphology of western ragweed. Western ragweed did not appear to reduce grass standing crop. Instead, standing crop (40 to 620 kg ha-1) and density (6 to 41 shoots m-2) of western ragweed were positively related to grass and grass-forb standing crop in mixed prairie. Standing crop of western ragweed was not related to grass standing crop in tallgrass prairie. Competitive thresholds for western ragweed in mixed and tallgrass prairies appear to be above the levels observed in this study. Density of western ragweed shoots decreased over the growing season under both grazed and ungrazed treatments. Survival of western ragweed shoots from June to September was greater in mixed prairie (81%) than in tallgrass prairie (63%) and was greater in ungrazed (76%) than grazed plots (68%). Western ragweed shoots weighed less per unit of height in tall grassprairie. Western ragweed shoots in ungrazed plots were taller than shoots in grazed plots but weighed less per unit of height. These differences in shoot morphology are consistent with increased competition for light in tallgrass prairie and in ungrazed sites. Western ragweed may not directly reduce grass standing crop but, rather, increase only when grasses are reduced by other stresses such as improper grazing.