• Effects of roundups on behavior and reproduction of feral horses

      Hansen, K. V.; Mosley, J. C. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      Roundups are used to maintain feral horse populations in balance with rangeland grazing capacity, but little is known about short-term and long-term effects of roundups on horses. We evaluated the effects of roundups on behavior and reproduction of feral horses. The study was conducted near Challis, Ida. during 1994-1995, and repeated near Lander, Wyo. during 1995-1996. Horses were randomly assigned to 3 different treatment groups. One group (ADOPTED) was gathered by a Bureau of Land Management roundup crew using a helicopter. These horses were removed and placed in the Adopt-A-Horse Program. The second group (SIMULATED) consisted of horses that were gathered by helicopter, but these horses evaded capture and remained in the study area after the roundup. Horses in the third group (CONTROL) were not herded by helicopter. Horse behavior was monitored in the SIMULATED and CONTROL groups before and after roundups. Behavioral variables analyzed were the percentage of time spent resting, feeding, vigilant, traveling, and engaged in agonistic encounters. Neither foraging or social behavior of feral horses was affected by roundups in either study area (P > 0.10). Reproduction was monitored within the SIMULATED, CONTROL, and ADOPTED groups during the year following roundups. The percentages of mares with live foals did not differ (P > 0.10) among the 3 treatment groups in Idaho or Wyoming. Foaling success rates in Idaho were 29%, 31%, and 43% for CONTROL, ADOPTED, and SIMULATED mares, respectively. In Wyoming, foaling success rates were 29%, 42%, and 48% for CONTROL, ADOPTED, and SIMULATED groups, respectively. We found no evidence that roundups had deleterious effects on behavior or reproduction of feral horses.
    • Vegetation response to stocking rate in southern mixed-grass prairie

      Gillen, R. L.; Eckroat, J. A.; McCollum, F. T. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      Stocking rate directly influences the frequency and intensity of defoliation of individual plants which, in turn, impacts energy flow and plant succession in grazed ecosystems. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of stocking rate on standing crop dynamics and plant species composition of a southern mixed-grass prairie over a 7-year period (1990 through 1996). Long-term (30-year) mean precipitation has been 766 mm per year. Growing conditions were generally favorable for the study period. Yearling cattle (initial weight 216 kg, SD = 12 kg) grazed at 6 stocking rates, ranging from 23 to 51 AUD ha-1, from 14 April to 24 September (162 days). The currently suggested year-long stocking rate is 25 AUD ha-1. Herbage standing crop was measured in July and September every year while species composition was determined in July in even years. Total and dead standing crop declined as stocking rate increased but live standing crop was not related to stocking rate. Slopes of regression lines relating standing crop and stocking rate were constant over years, indicating no response for plant productivity. The major vegetation components, sideoats grama [Bouteloua curtipendula (Mich.) Torr.], shortgrasses, and forbs were not affected by stocking rate over years. Tallgrasses responded by increasing at the lower stocking rates over the study period. However, these grasses contributed less than 5% of the total standing crop. Red and purple threeawn (Aristida longiseta Steud. and A. purpurea Nutt.) increased at all stocking rates from 1990 to 1996 but the increase was greater at the lower stocking rates. This mixed-grass vegetation showed little response to stocking rate over the 7-year study period. The vegetation may have been in equilibrium with previous heavy stocking rates so that little change would be expected at those rates. Increases in grazing sensitive species at lighter stocking rates may occur over longer time intervals.
    • Comparison of 3 techniques for monitoring use of western wheatgrass

      Halstead, L. E.; Howery, L. D.; Ruyle, G. B. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      Forage use data can help rangeland and wildlife managers make informed decisions. However, managers need to know if forage use techniques that are commonly used to estimate ungulate herbivory under field conditions produce comparable results. The objective of this 2-year study was to directly compare forage use measurements obtained via the paired-plot method and 2 height-weight methods (using on-site height-weight curves and the pre-established United States Forest Service height-weight gauge). In June, July, and October of 1997 and 1998, we measured forage use of western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii Rydb.) by cattle (Bos taurus L.) and wild ungulates, mainly elk (Cervus elaphus L.). On-site height-weight curves and the USFS gauge consistently produced lower estimates (overall means = 8 and 7%, respectively) than the paired-plot method (overall mean = 31%). Height-weight estimates did not differ (P > 0.05) when calculated with either on-site curves or the USFS gauge. Within sampling areas, paired-plot estimates were relatively more precise (mean CV = 63%) than on-site curves (mean CV = 238%) or the USFS gauge (mean CV = 271%). Selective grazing likely contributed to higher CVs for height-weight techniques. Our findings are important for rangeland and wildlife managers because the forage monitoring technique they use may influence the results obtained and, consequently, grazing management and wildlife harvest decisions. Managers should ensure that chosen monitoring techniques provide an appropriate evaluation of management goals and objectives.
    • Grazing impacts on selected soil parameters under short-term forage sequences

      Mapfumo, E.; Chanasyk, D. S.; Baron, V. S.; Naeth, M. A. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      Long-term cultivation is known to change soil physical and chemical properties, but little is known about whether short-term agricultural practices, such as rotational grazing, can initiate such changes. This study investigated the impacts of 3 grazing intensities (heavy, medium, and light) and 4 forages on selected soil physical and chemical parameters of a Typic Haplustoll at Lacombe, Alberta. Measurements were conducted on soil samples collected at the beginning (1993) and the end (1996) of the study. Two perennial forages, smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis cv. 'Carlton') and meadow bromegrass (Bromus riparius cv. 'Paddock'), and 2 annuals, a mixture of triticale (X Triticosecale Wittmack cv. 'Pika') and barley (Hordeum vulgare L. cv. 'AC Lacombe') and triticale alone were used for the study. Grazing intensity or forage species did not affect carbon-to-nitrogen ratio. Grazing intensity influenced changes in available water holding capacity for the 0-5 cm interval, soil nitrogen for the 30-45 cm interval, soil pH for the 5-15 cm interval and electrical conductivity for all depth intervals except for the 0-5 cm interval (P less than or equal to 0.05). Forage species affected changes in soil carbon in the 0-5 cm interval, soil pH between 0 and 15 cm, and electrical conductivity between 5 and 45 cm (P less than or equal to 0.05). Soil electrical conductivities for all grazing levels and forage treatments were within the range (i.e. 0-2 dS m-1) considered to have negligible effects on plant growth. The minimal effects of grazing and plant species on soil parameters in this study may have been due to the resilient intrinsic properties of the soil and/or the short study length.
    • Flow processes in a rangeland catchment in California

      Salve, R.; Tokunaga, T. K. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      Emerging hydrology-related issues in California grasslands have directed attention towards the need to understand subsurface water flow within a complex, dynamic system. Tensiometers and neutron probes evaluated the subsurface hydrology of a rangeland catchment. Hydrological processes within the catchment varied both in space and time. Spatial variability was evident along the vertical profile and between the catchment slopes. Temporal variability in processes coincided with the seasons (i.e., wet winter, dry summer, and spring). From a water-balance equation developed for the catchment, we determined that there was significant variability both spatial and temporal in the amount of soil moisture lost to evapotranspiration and deep seepage. During the 16 month monitoring period there was a total of 50 cm of rainfall that fell in the catchment of which 9-55 cm was lost to evaporation and 37-79 cm to deep seepage. A simple deduction of the losses (evaporation and deep seepage) from the input (rainfall) shows that all monitored locations had a substantial decrease in the amount of water that was stored in the soil profile.
    • Rotational stocking and production of Italian ryegrass on Argentinean rangelands

      Jacobo, E. J.; Rodriguez, A. M.; Rossi, J. L.; Salgado, L. P.; Deregibus, V. A. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      The decreased carrying capacity of Argentinian Flooding Pampa rangelands through the reduction of density of C3 grasses may be partially attributed to continuous stocking. The objective of this study was to evaluated the effectiveness of rotational vs. continuous stocking to improve winter forage production by incrementing the density of Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.). Under rotational stocking, ryegrass seedlings established almost 2 months earlier in the fall and tiller density was 3-fold higher in winter than under continuous stocking. Aerial net primary productivity of C3 grasses was approximately 2-fold greater under rotational compared with continuous stocking in the first and second years. This substantial increase in winter productivity supported almost 2-fold increase in stocking rate (from 0.6 to 1.0 AU ha-1).
    • Seed biology of rush skeletonweed in sagebrush steppe

      Liao, J. D.; Monsen, S. B.; Anderson, V. J.; Shaw, N. L. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      Rush skeletonweed (Chondrilla juncea L.) is an invasive, herbaceous, long-lived perennial species of Eurasian or Mediterranean origin now occurring in many locations throughout the world. In the United States, it occupies over 2.5 million ha of rangeland in the pacific Northwest and California. Despite the ecological and economic significance of this species, little is known of the ecology and life history characteristics of North American populations. The purpose of this study was to examine seed germination characteristics of 2 populations of rush skeletonweed in Idaho. Seeds from rush skeletonweed plants in southwestern Idaho were collected during the 1994 and 1995 growing seasons. Mature seeds were harvested on 6 dates between early July and early October 1994, and on 5 dates between early July and late September 1995. Fresh seeds from each harvest period were measured to determine seed weight, total germination, rate of germination, and viability (tetrazolium staining [TZ]) of non-germinating seeds. An aliquot of seeds collected in 1994 was also stored for 1 year to examine the effects of seed storage on germination. In southwestern Idaho, rush skeletonweed produces seeds continuously from mid-July through October. Seeds were capable of immediate germination without scarification or wet prechilling. Total germination generally ranged from 60 to 100% throughout the entire seed production period. Germination was also rapid, reaching 50% of total germination in less than 12 days. In general, germination was higher at the lower incubation temperature regime (20/10 degrees C), perhaps reflecting origins of this species in Mediterranean winter rainfall regions. The TZ testing indicated that 30 to 60% of non-germinating seeds were viable, suggesting that seeds may persist in the soil seed bank. Up to 60% of seeds remained viable following 1 year of storage. Stored seeds generally exhibited higher germination rates (average = 90%) than fresh seeds (average = 67%), indicating possible dormancy and afterripening effects. Germination characteristics of this species are consistent with those of other invasive alien species, and favor rapid population growth leading to community dominance.
    • Tiller recruitment patterns and biennial tiller production in prairie sandreed

      Hendrickson, J. R.; Moser, L. E.; Reece, P. E. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      Tiller recruitment is an essential process for ensuring the perenniality of grasses. The timing and extent of tiller recruitment and the role of biennial tillers must be documented for key range species. Prairie sandreed [Calamovilfa longifolia (Hook) Scribn.] is an important grass in the Nebraska Sandhills for both ecological functioning and as a forage. The objective of this study was to document tiller recruitment patterns and the occurrence and contribution of current year and biennial tillers to biomass production in prairie sandreed at 2 locations in Nebraska. Tiller recruitment was monitored at 2-week periods throughout the growing season during a 2-year period. Newly emerged tillers were classified as intravaginal, extravaginal, or rhizomatous tillers and marked with colored wire. Prairie sandreed has an unimodal pattern of tiller recruitment and over 50% of the current year tillers emerged by mid-May and 80% by mid-June. Rate of tiller emergence and absolute number of emerged tillers were poorly correlated with short- and long-term precipitation totals (r < 0.3 P > 0.20). The year after new tillers were marked, biennial tillers and tillers initiated during the current-year were counted and clipped in September for biomass determination Biennial tillers made up only 6 and 20% of the total tiller emergence at these locations and were generally only 30% as large as the new tillers. Extravaginal tillers composed over 78% of the biennial tiller population as a result of both their dominance in emerging populations and the higher percentage of tillers that survived the winter. Current year tillers contributed the most to prairie sandreed forage production and their emergence was largely completed by mid-June. The lack of a relationship between tiller recruitment and precipitation patterns, combined with previous studies of prairie sandreed, indicates that tiller recruitment involves a process that begins the previous growing season.
    • Grassland biomass dynamics along an altitudinal gradient in the Pampa

      Pérez, C. A.; Frangi, J. L. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      Above and below-ground biomass and necromass dynamics were assessed for 3 grassland sites located at 550, 850, and 1,025 m elevation in Sierra de la Ventana range (38 degrees 1'S 62 degrees 2'W) in Argentina. The objective was to determine if differences existed in dry matter structure, mycorrhizae infection, net primary productivity (NPP) partitioning to aboveground and belowground tissues, senescence and litter fall, and seasonal patterns of dry matter fluxes with altitude. Soil properties, water budgets and temperature at the sites were also assessed. Biomass plus necromass (without litter) was 1,184 +/- 41, 1,208 +/- 70, and 1,507 +/- 63 gDM m-2 for the lower, intermediate and upper sites, respectively. The below:aboveground biomass ratio increased with elevation. Total NPP was 1,131, 1,280, and 1,157 gDM m-2 year-1, respectively, for the 3 grassland sites. belowground allocation of net productivity increased with altitude. Both mass and proportion of thin roots increased with elevation, and so did mycorrhizae infection. The aboveground and belowground turnover rates decreased with altitude, but rates were faster for aboveground tissues. We found different temporal patterns in productivity, senescence and disappearance among grassland sites despite similar total NPP. Water holding capacity of soils and temperature were important factors related to several of the observed trends in structure and function. Differences in grassland structure and fluxes are discussed as related to soils and local climate at each site.
    • Early establishment of Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine in grassland seedbeds

      Bai, Y.; Thompson, D.; Broersma, K. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      Grassland of interior British Columbia are being encroached upon by Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca (Beissn.) Franco) and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Dougl.). A pot experiment placed in the field was conducted to determine the effect of forest and grassland seedbeds on seedling emergence and early establishment of the 2 species with 2 seed collections each. For these seedbeds, structural characteristics were evaluated and the effect of seedbeds water extracts on seed germination was determined. Seedling emergence of both species was significantly reduced by Douglas-fir needles and enhanced by fescue litter and cattle manure compared to mineral soil. The rate of emergence was reduced by Douglas-fir needles and sagebrush litter, and for some collections, by ponderosa pine needles, but was always enhanced by manure compared to mineral soil. Seedling survival was generally not affected by seedbeds. Douglas-fir seedlings emerging earlier in the season survived better, and both Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine seedlings emerging earlier lived longer than these emerging later. Seed germination of ponderosa pine was not affected by the water extract while that of Douglas-fir was reduced by the water extract from sagebrush litter. Therefore, differences in seedling emergence of the 2 species among seedbeds were related more to structural than to chemical characteristics of seedbeds. Successful establishment of the 2 species in grasslands within this region likely relies on the ability of seeds to germinate early in the growing season on seedbeds in which soil moisture is conserved, as summer droughts are severe.
    • A method for estimating cattle fecal loading on rangeland watersheds

      Tate, K. W.; Atwill, E. R.; McDougald, N. K.; George, M. R.; Witt, D. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      Water quality contamination by pathogens and nutrients from cattle fecal deposits is a concern on rangeland watersheds. The temporal and spatial deposition of fecal material relative to storm events and water-bodies determines much of the risk a grazing scheme presents to water quality. The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a comparative technique to estimate cattle fecal loading across a watershed through time. Once the method was developed, dry and wet season trials were conducted on a 138 ha experimental rangeland watershed at the San Joaquin Experimental Range in 1996-97. Fifty-four permanent 40 m2 belt transects were established across the watershed. Observers ocularly assigned a rank of 1 (smallest diameter) to 5 (largest diameter) to each fecal deposit within a transect. A regression relationship was developed to predict fecal deposit dry weight by rank. Load per transect was calculated as the total weight of all fecal deposits in a transect. All fecal deposits in transects were collected and actual fecal load determined. The comparative yield methodology was successfully adapted to estimate rangeland fecal loading. Regression relationships predicting fecal deposit dry weight by ranks were highly significant for all observers (p < 0.001). The R2 values ranged from 0.97 to 0.99 in the dry season and 0.89 to 0.94 in the wet season. There was no significant difference between the weighted fecal load estimate and the estimates of observers using the comparative method (P < 0.05). This method provides a rapid, simple method for estimating spatial and temporal livestock fecal loading on rangeland watersheds.
    • Estimating grazing index values for plants from arid regions

      Du Toit, P. C. V. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      The Ecological Index Method impacted directly on the estimation of grazing capacities in the Karoo, an arid region in South Africa. Due to inherent deficiencies in the ecological index method, index values formed a disjunct series, 10, 7, 4, and 1 and the fact that different value systems were employed to score plant species, necessitated that index values of species commonly encountered during botanical surveys be subjectively adjusted by means of a species by species comparison, forming a continuous series of index values. These index values were still subjective value judgements of the agronomic value of the Karoo plant species. The author felt that a method should be developed to objectively estimate grazing index values from certain plant variables, i.e. size, animal available dry matter production, and chemical properties of the species. The use of these properties would describe the agronomic value of the plant species, which would lead to agronomically sound current grazing capacities being estimated. The following 2 models were proposed to deal with the karoo subshrubs and the grasses of the karoo separately. Grazing index value for the karoo subshrubs = ((canopy spread cover + available forage + TDN + [K divided by (Ca + Mg)]) divided by ether extract) divided by 100, and grazing index value for the grasses = ((canopy spread cover + available forage + TDN + [K divided by (Ca + Mg)]) x ether extract) divided by 100.
    • Seed production in sideoats grama populations with different grazing histories

      Smith, S. E.; Mosher, R.; Fendenheim, D. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      Frequent and intense defoliation of grasses has been associated with the evolution of "grazing morphotypes" that exhibit a variety of vegetative traits correlated with improved grazing resistance. While recovery from a seed bank is not considered an important grazing resistance mechanism, relatively little is actually known regarding seed (caryopsis) production in grazing morphotypes of caespitose grasses. The goal of this research was to compare components of seed production in 2 populations of sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula var. caespitosa Gould Kapadia) from nearby sites with different histories of livestock grazing. This was done using vegetative propagules of genotypes from both populations in a greenhouse study. The study was conducted in 2 flowering seasons under conditions considered favorable for seed production. The population exposed to livestock grazing showed a genetically based decrease in seed production relative to the ungrazed population. Lower seed production per plant in the grazed population was at least partially due to reduced numbers of tillers and panicles per plant and spikes per panicle that may be associated with selection for grazing tolerance. The grazed population also exhibited lower average seed production per spike indicating lower inherent floral fertility. Seed production was not closely correlated with vegetative traits associated with increased grazing tolerance, nor was there evidence of obvious physiological trade-offs related to decreased seed production in the grazed population. Lower seed production potential in populations of sideoats grama intensively grazed by livestock may lead to reduced potential for seedling colonization.
    • Hoary cress reproduction in a sagebrush ecosystem

      Larson, L.; Kiemnec, G.; Smergut, T. (Society for Range Management, 2000-09-01)
      Field studies were undertaken to evaluate hoary cress (Cardaria draba (L.) Desv.) reproduction and spread in a sagebrush ecosystem. Hoary cress germination, emergence, and survival were restricted to moist environments. These conditions occurred 2 out of 8 years. Hoary cress germination under field conditions was greatest on toe slope positions and areas of soil disturbance. Number of shoots varied annually for established hoary cress populations. Shoot propagation was reduced when early spring growth was followed by frost or drought. Shoot numbers were increased when spring growth was delayed and warm, moist growing conditions occurred in May. Seed reproduction did not increase plant density in monitored populations. Established populations relied upon vegetative reproduction to sequester resources and increase plant density.