The encroachment of woody species into landscapes historically dominated by perennial grasses has garnered concern from rangeland managers across the globe (Archer, 1995). In the U.S. alone, an estimated 220,000,000 hectares of rangelands are undergoing some degree of shrub encroachment (Houghton, Hackler, Lawrence, 1999). Grasslands provide a multitude of ecosystems services, such as: carbon storage, soil conservation, water infiltration, and forage production (Yahdjian, Sala, Havstad, 2015). Conserving grasslands in the face of threats from woody plant encroachment has become a prominent management priority. Range managers have developed a number of strategies to mitigate many of the potential negative impacts of woody plant encroachment into these valuable ecosystems.
The Brush Management Toolbox:
- Biological controls
- Chemical controls
- Mechanical removal
- Prescribed fire
- Prescribed grazing
- Brush Management Workshops
- Why Do Ranchers Burn Their Pastures? - The Flint Hills of Kansas and Oklahoma
The following resources detail the impacts of woody plant encroachment, strategies for monitoring those impacts, and potential tools for vegetation management.
- Archer, S. 1995. Tree-grass dynamics in a thornscrub savanna parkland: reconstructing the past and predicting the future. Ecoscience 2:83-99
- Houghton, R. A., Hackler, J. L. and Lawrence, K. T. 1999. The US carbon budget: contributions from land-use change. Science 285, 574–578.
- Yahdjian, L., Sala, O., & Havstad, K. (2015). Rangeland ecosystem services: Shifting focus from supply to reconciling supply and demand. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 13(1), 44-51. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy3.library.arizona.edu/stable/44000878