• Leafy spurge and the species composition of a mixed-grass prairie

      Belcher, J. W.; Wilson, S. D. (Society for Range Management, 1989-03-01)
      The relationship between leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) and the species composition of mixed-grass prairie was examined on both a large scale, within a 200-km2 area, and on a local scale, within a single infestation. On the large scale, cover values of 8 of the 10 most common species varied significantly (P & 0.05) between native prairie and spurge-dominated vegetation. Cover values of all common native species were negatively correlated with cover of leafy spurge. Within a single infestation of leafy spurge, the frequency of 5 common native species decreased significantly with leafy spurge. Most native species were absent where leafy spurge was most abundant and species richness declined from 11 outside the infestation to 3 at the center. Ninety-five percent of leafy spurge infestations within a 374-ha area were associated with anthropogenic disturbances (vehicle tracks, road construction and fireguards) which removed native plant cover and exposed mineral soil. These observations corroborate experimental studies which show that leafy spurge establishes more readily in disturbed soil and indicate that the result of such disturbances is the replacement of native species with leafy spurge.
    • Observations on biomass dynamics of a crested wheatgrass and native shortgrass ecosystem in southern Wyoming

      Redente, E. F.; Biondini, M. E.; Moore, J. C. (Society for Range Management, 1989-03-01)
      Above- and belowground net primary production (ANPP and BNPP) were compared between a 30-year-old crested wheatgrass site and an adjacent native shortgrass prairie. ANPP was estimated using successive harvests in May, June, July, and October 1985. BNPP was estimated using soil cores to a depth of 100 cm at the same time that aboveground harvests were made. ANPP was significantly greater in the crested wheatgrass site compared to the native site, but belowground and total net primary production were not different. The native shortgrass system, however, had greater live root biomass early in the growing season. The crested wheatgrass system had a high accumulation of aboveground dead material at the start of the growing season, which was followed by a significant decline in June and an increase in July and October. The native shortgrass system, however, had significantly lower accumulations of aboveground dead material. Approximately 92% of the fixed carbon in the native site was allocated belowground, while crested wheatgrass allocated about 85% of its fixed carbon belowground.