Vegetation of chained and non-chained seedlings after wildfire in Utah
Elytrigia intermedia subsp. intermedia
Bureau of Land Management
MetadataShow full item record
CitationOtt, J. E., McArthur, E. D., & Roundy, B. A. (2003). Vegetation of chained and non-chained seedlings after wildfire in Utah. Journal of Range Management, 56(1), 81-91.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractAfter wildfires in 1996 in the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) and pinyon-juniper (Pinus spp.–Juniperus spp.) zones of west-central Utah, the USDI-BLM attempted to reduce soil erosion and cheatgrass proliferation (Bromus tectorum L.) through rehabilitation treatments. We compared the vegetation of aerially seeded, chained treatments with aerially seeded but non-chained treatments for 3 years following seeding. Vegetation cover increased significantly in both treatments between the first and second year, concurrent with above-average precipitation. By the second year, seeded grasses, primarily crested wheatgrass [Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn.] and intermediate wheatgrass [Elymus hispidus (Opiz) Meld. and Elymus elongatus (Host) Runem.], dominated the chained treatment while cheatgrass dominated the non-chained treatment. Seeded grass establishment in non-chained areas was highest beneath dead trees on steep northeast-facing slopes. The first year following the fires, frequency of most annual species and some native perennial species was higher in the non-chained than chained treatment. Native species richness and diversity declined in both treatments between the first and third year following the fires due to the loss of early-seral native annuals and probably because of climatic factors and competition from seeded grasses and cheatgrass. This study reaffirmed the utility of aerial seeding followed by chaining as a rehabilitation technique for rapid establishment of standard plant materials and suppression of cheatgrass, although the implications for soil protection were less clear. Maintenance of native biodiversity on public lands will require greater development and use of native plant materials for wildfire rehabilitation. Planning for future rehabilitation needs is important in light of continuing wildfire risks.