• Use of degree-days in multiple-temperature experiments

      Romo, J. T.; Eddleman, L. E. (Society for Range Management, 1995-09-01)
      This research compared results from germination and growth when the experiment duration was chronologically set or based on degree-days. Seeds of smooth brome (Bromus inermis Leyss.), plains rough fescue (Festuca altaica Trin. subsp. hallii (Vasey) Harms), prairie coneflower (Ratibida columnifera (Nutt.) Woot. and Standl.), and silver sagebrush (Artemisia cana Pursh.) were germinated at 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 degrees C for 28 days or 400 degree-days (Base temperature = 0 degrees C). Root and shoot weights of seedlings of these species were compared at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 degrees C after growing them 20 days or 200 degree-days. With the exception of prairie coneflower, optimal temperatures for germination were 2 to 4 degrees C lower when incubated 400 degree-days compared to 28 days. Total germination for prairie coneflower was not significantly different (P = 0.454) at 28 days or 400 degree-days. Interacting effects of the duration of experiments and temperature significantly (P less than or equal to 0.001) influenced root and shoot weight of all species. Except for shoot weight of smooth brome, predicted optimum temperatures for root and shoot growth were 7 to 21 degrees C lower at 200 degree-days than 20 days. These experiments illustrate that results from germination and growth studies can vary substantially depending on whether chronological time or degree-days are used as the end point. Thus, ecological interpretations or management recommendations can be quite different. Degree-days may be more meaningful than chronological units for germination and growth studies because they integrate time and temperature. The use of degree-days as an end point for experiments rather than chronological time deserves further consideration by researchers.
    • Vegetal recovery following wildfire in seeded and unseeded sagebrush steppe

      Ratzlaff, T. D.; Anderson, J. E. (Society for Range Management, 1995-09-01)
      Following an August wildfire, sagebrush (Artemisia L.)/grass benchlands adjacent to Pocatello, Ida., were seeded with a mixture of exotic wheatgrasses and forbs by rangeland drill in November 1987. The effects of seeding on vegetation development in the immediate postfire years were evaluated by comparing plant density, vegetal cover, species composition, species diversity, and standing crop in seeded areas to that in unseeded control plots in 1988 and 1989. We also examined cover of bare ground, litter, and growth form between treatments and between sampling periods. Twenty paired 10-m transects were established in seeded and unseeded areas on each of 3 plots on the burned benches. Plant density, vegetal cover, and species diversity were lower in the seeded areas than in the unseeded areas in 1988 and 1989. Species composition, species richness, and standing crop were similar between treatments. Establishment of seeded species was poor, probably as a result of drought conditions in 1987 and 1988. Most plants observed in seeded and unseeded areas in the spring of 1988 sprouted from established perennials. Even though the first postfire season was a drought year, plant cover in the unseeded areas (18.3%) approached that estimated by a U.S. interagency task force as needed to stabilize soils on that site. In the following year, which had average precipitation, plant cover in both treatments exceeded the task force's estimate of prefire cover. Because the indigenous plant species recovered rapidly, seeding of this burn was unnecessary to establish plant cover and counterproductive in terms of erosion potential. These results serve to emphasize that objective criteria should be established for evaluating the necessity of postfire seeding.
    • Viewpoint: The state and transition model applied to the herbaceous layer of Argentina's calden forest

      Llorens, E. M. (Society for Range Management, 1995-09-01)
      The ecological trends in the vegetation of the caldén (Prosopis caldenia Burk.) forest of central Argentina have generally been explained with a model that assumed a unique equilibrium state or "climax." This model does not adequately explain the ecological changes that occur in the understory of the caldén forest. Recently, models that present different stable states of vegetation have been suggested. These vegetation states do not change unless relatively drastic management or climatic actions occur. Observations of vegetation changes, grazing regimes, and other aspects of management permitted the development of a basic scheme to explain changes in the herbaceous layer in the caldén forest, based on the state and transition model. Five stable states and 9 transitions are proposed to account for current herbaceous associations and their origins. This model seems to more accurately explain transitions between the different vegetation states in the area, some of which could not be readily explained by the "climax" model.