Browsing Journal of Range Management, Volume 37, Number 3 (May 1984) by Authors
Vegetation Change after 13 Years of Live-Stock Grazing Exclusion on Sagebrush Semidesert in West Central UtahWest, N. E.; Provenza, F. D.; Johnson, P. S.; Owens, M. K. (Society for Range Management, 1984-05-01)Range managers often assume that release of vegetation from livestock grazing pressure will automatically result in a trend toward the pristine condition. The pathways and time scales for recovery are also sometimes assumed to be the same as for retrogression. These assumptions were examined via monitoring of plant community composition and forage production in five large paddocks of sagebrush semi-desert vegetation in west central Utah over a 13-year interval. No significant increases in native perennial grasses were noted over this period despite a trend toward more favorable precipitation in recent years. Thus, the present brush-dominated plant community is probably successionally stable. A return to vegetation similar to the original sagebrush-native grass mixture is unlikely. The possibility of a successional deflection via fire is enhanced by the increase of annual grass. Improvement of forage production in this vegetation will not necessarily follow after livestock exclusion. Direction manipulations are mandatory if rapid returns to perennial grass dominants are desired in such environments.