• Pinyon-juniper chaining and seeding for big game in central Utah

      Skousen, J. G.; Davis, J. N.; Brotherson, J. D. (Society for Range Management, 1989-03-01)
      Vegetation and soils were evaluated on 5 different-aged, mechanically treated and seeded pinyon-juniper sites and compared to adjacent untreated areas. Plant cover was significantly changed after treatment: trees were reduced from 26 to 6% total ground cover; shrubs were increased from 2 to 8% ground cover; and herbaceous plants increased from 2 to 13% ground cover. Annuals and perennial forbs were 75% of the total plant cover on the 2-year-old site, perennial grasses and shrubs dominated the plant cover (52 to 83%) on three, 14- to 20-year-old sites, while shrubs and trees combined for 94% of the plant cover on the 24-year-old site. Two Agropyron grass species showed good establishment and persistence after seeding. Seeded forbs contributed about 5% of the total plant cover on the 2-year-old treated site and they declined on older treated sites. Seeding of shrubs was only successful on sites where the shrub species was already present in the understory naturally. Seeding of nonnative shrub seed did not produce stands. Even though tree cover was reduced after treatment, total tree density was not. Shrub density increased from an average of 800 plants/ha on untreated areas to 2,750 plants/ha on treated areas. Juniper mortality during mechanical treatment varied from 60 to 91% and was related to the percentage of trees estimated to be 60+ years old (r = 0.97) and with the number of trees greater than 5 cm in stem diameter (r = 0.71) on the adjacent untreated sites. Big game pellet group counts were not different between untreated and treated sites, suggesting that big game make use of these treated areas because of increased forage and browse and in spite of reduced security cover.