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Mowing Wyoming Big Sagebrush Communities With Degraded Herbaceous Understories: Has a Threshold Been Crossed?

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dc.creator Davies, Kirk W.
dc.creator Bates, Jonathan D.
dc.creator Nafus, Aleta M.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-11-12T19:32:35Z
dc.date.available 2012-11-12T19:32:35Z
dc.date.issued 2012-09
dc.identifier.citation Kirk W. Davies, Jonathan D. Bates, and Aleta M. Nafus (2012) Mowing Wyoming Big Sagebrush Communities With Degraded Herbaceous Understories: Has a Threshold Been Crossed?. Rangeland Ecology & Management: September 2012, Vol. 65, No. 5, pp. 498-505. en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1957/35050
dc.description This is the publisher’s final pdf. The published article is copyrighted by the Society for Range Management and can be found at: http://www.srmjournals.org/loi/rama. To the best of our knowledge, one or more authors of this paper were federal employees when contributing to this work. en_US
dc.description.abstract Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis [Beetle & A. Young] S.L. Welsh) plant communities with degraded native herbaceous understories occupy vast expanses of the western United States. Restoring the native herbaceous understory in these communities is needed to provide higher-quality wildlife habitat, decrease the risk of exotic plant invasion, and increase forage for livestock. Though mowing is commonly applied in sagebrush communities with the objective of increasing native herbaceous vegetation, vegetation response to this treatment in degraded Wyoming big sagebrush communities is largely unknown. We compared mowed and untreated control plots in five Wyoming big sagebrush plant communities with degraded herbaceous understories in eastern Oregon for 3 yr posttreatment. Native perennial herbaceous vegetation did not respond to mowing, but exotic annuals increased with mowing. Density of cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.), a problematic exotic annual grass, was 3.3-fold greater in the mowed than untreated control treatment in the third year posttreatment. Annual forb cover, largely consisting of exotic species, was 1.8-fold greater in the mowed treatment compared to the untreated control in the third year posttreatment. Large perennial grass cover was not influenced by mowing and remained below 2%. Mowing does not appear to promote native herbaceous vegetation in degraded Wyoming big sagebrush plant communities and may facilitate the conversion of shrublands to exotic annual grasslands. The results of this study suggest that mowing, as a stand-alone treatment, does not restore the herbaceous understory in degraded Wyoming big sagebrush plant communities. We recommend that mowing not be applied in Wyoming big sagebrush plant communities with degraded understories without additional treatments to limit exotic annuals and promote perennial herbaceous vegetation. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Society for Range Management en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Rangeland Ecology & Management en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Vol. 65 no. 5 en_US
dc.subject annual grass en_US
dc.subject Artemisia tridentata en_US
dc.subject brush control en_US
dc.subject brush management en_US
dc.subject cheatgrass en_US
dc.subject invasion en_US
dc.subject restoration en_US
dc.title Mowing Wyoming Big Sagebrush Communities With Degraded Herbaceous Understories: Has a Threshold Been Crossed? en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.description.peerreview yes en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.2111/REM-D-12-00026.1


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