Rangelands, Volume 39, Number 6 (2017)
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Improving Seeding Success on Cheatgrass-Infested Rangelands in Northern NevadaCheatgrass has transformed secondary succession in arid sagebrush plant communities in the Great Basin by providing a fine-textured, early maturing fuel that increases the chance, rate, spread, and season of wildfires. The best known method to suppress cheatgrass densities and associated fuels is through the establishment of perennial grasses. Crested wheatgrass plots seeded the first fall following the wildfire (2006) averaged an establishment of 9.6 plants/m2 compared with plots seeded the second fall at 3.9 plants/m2. Native perennial species bluegrass and squirreltail experienced high failure rates. Over the 2-year study, un-disced cheatgrass plots averaged more than 1,350 cheatgrass seeds/m2, while plots receiving our April/May discing application averaged fewer than 250 cheatgrass seeds/m2, an 82% reduction in cheatgrass seed bank densities, which significantly improved seeded species establishment. The use of soil-active herbicides, Imazapic (Plateau) and Sulfometuron methyl (Landmark), reduced first-year cheatgrass densities by 95.6% and 98.7%, respectively. This level of cheatgrass reduction drastically improved seeded species success. The establishment of perennial grasses reduced aboveground cheatgrass densities by more than 93%, thus reducing the chance of reoccurring wildfires and improving the chance that critical browse species can return to the site and improve wildlife resources. © 2017
Four-wing Saltbush (Atriplex canescens) Seed and Seedling Consumption by Granivorous RodentsFour-wing saltbush is an important browse species for wildlife and domestic livestock and has been reported to provide as much as 11.4% to 13.6% crude protein. Granivorous rodents are important in the ecology of plant communities as well as the management practices that occur in those communities. In any land management practice that involves seeding in restoration or rehabilitation efforts, land managers must be cognizant of the role that biotic and abiotic factors ultimately have on the success and failures of these efforts. Abiotic factors such as poor seed germination or lack of proper amount and periodicity of precipitation are more well understood than biotic factors such as seed and seedling predation by granivorous rodents. Granivorous rodents in this study consumed as much as 55% and 99% of the four-wing saltbush seed and seedlings, respectively. Understanding the possible effects of rodent behavior with four-wing saltbush seed and seedlings should help resource managers in their planning and implementation of future rehabilitation/restoration efforts. © 2017
Cost of Removing and Assembling Biomass from Rangeland Encroaching Eastern Redcedar Trees for Industrial UseEastern redcedar trees have encroached on Great Plains grasslands and are spreading at a glacial pace, reducing forage production, destroying native ecosystems, and producing human health harming allergens. The study was conducted to determine the expected cost to deliver a flow of feedstock to an optimal factory location for a business designed to use eastern redcedar biomass harvested from grasslands. Proportion of trees available for removal, quantity of feedstock required, harvest costs, and tree growth rate are critical factors. Assuring investors that a flow of eastern redcedar trees for industrial use would be attainable for 20 years at a reasonable cost may be challenging. © 2017 The Society for Range Management
Cheatgrass Die-Offs: A Unique Restoration Opportunity in Northern NevadaThe phenomenon of cheatgrass die-off is a common and naturally occurring stand failure that can eliminate the presence of this annual grass for a year or more, affecting tens of thousands of hectares in some years. We designed a study to determine if the temporary lack of cheatgrass caused by die-offs is a restoration opportunity. We seeded native perennial species at three die-offs in the Winnemucca, Nevada, area. Native grass establishment in die-offs was almost three times higher in the first season at all sites, relative to adjacent areas without die-off. Establishment was five times higher in the die-off at two sites in the second season, and plants produced dramatically more culms in the die-off at the third site in the third season. Increasing seed rates led to more seedlings establishing in both die-offs and controls, with the strongest effect in the second season. We suggest that landowners and managers consider targeting die-offs as efficient locations to focus native restoration efforts and that restoration practitioners should consider increasing seeding rates to maximize success. © 2017 The Society for Range Management