Administrative Report Or Publication

Ecology and Management of Rangeland Weeds

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  • The encroachment of alien weeds onto western rangelands is one of the most perilous and perhaps least recognized problems facing land managers today. Oregon rangelands are under siege from ever-increasing numbers and distribution of exotic weeds. They threaten Oregon's economy and environmental quality by reducing livestock forage, wildlife habitat, watershed potential, recreational opportunities, and property values. Successful weed management programs must be based on sound ecological principles. There are three components of a successful program on sites identified as being threatened by weeds: (1) Reduce the competitive ability of the weed (2) Replace the weed species with more desirable vegetation (3) Maintain plant communities in high ecological condition Weeds become established because they have evolved life strategies that allow them to capture resources (light, water, nutrients and space) in sufficient quantities to successfully complete their life cycles, especially on disturbed sites. Scientists study the ecology of weeds to learn how to exploit weak links in their life cycles for control using integrated methods of herbicide application, biological agents, and mechanical techniques. However, control of weeds without replacement and maintenance of more desirable plant communities can only produce short-term gain, and retrogressive succession will result in re-invasion of weeds. In Oregon, rangeland scientists have sought methods of establishing and maintaining plant communities that will resist weed invasion. The success of this approach is dependent upon our ability to incorporate ecological principles and vegetation management into weed control programs. The purpose of this Range Field Day is to introduce you to information, ideas, and activities that are currently being developed in Oregon to address the problem of weed encroachment.
  • Published June 1992. Facts and recommendations in this publication may no longer be valid. Please look for up-to-date information in the OSU Extension Catalog:
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