• A Collaborative Program to Provide Native Plant Materials for the Great Basin

      Shaw, Nancy; Pellant, Mike; Fisk, Matthew; Denney, Erin (Society for Range Management, 2012-08-01)
      The Great Basin as defined on a floristic basis includes the hydrographic Great Basin plus the Owyhee Uplands and Snake River Plain of southern Idaho (Fig. 1). The region encompasses about 60 million ha, of which more than two-thirds are publicly owned. Vegetation ranges from salt desert and sagebrush shrublands in the basins to conifer forests in the more than 200 mountain ranges. Historic land management opened the environment to invasion by exotic annual grasses, primarily cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum). Resulting changes in fire regimes and more recent human disturbances such as energy development, mining, and recreation have combined to increase the spread of annual and perennial exotics, deplete native seed banks, simplify community structure and species associations, and reduce landscape patchiness. Ecosystem resilience declines with disruption of ecological functions such as snow or water catchment, reduction of wind velocity, and nutrient cycling. West and Young described in detail the plant communities and management issues in the Great Basin and suggested that development of more effective and economical revegetation techniques should be a research priority, especially for the more arid regions.