Effects of burning and grazing on a coastal California grassland

Hatch, D. A., J. W. Bartolome, J. S. Fehmi, D. S. Hillyard
Publication Year: 
Fall burning and continuous grazing of California coastal prairie on upper, middle, and lower slopes had varied effect on 3 native perennial grasses. Foliar cover of California oatgrass (Danthonia californica) increased by 10% under a 10-year or more continuous grazing regime, but decreased in both cover and frequency when grazing was excluded. Despite response to grazing, California oatgrass was unaffected by fire. In contrast, purple needlegrass (Nassella pulchra) and foothill needlegrass (Nassella lepida) did not respond consistently to grazing limitation or fire, actions often prescribed for restoration of native perennials in California grasslands. Hatch et al. note that the current practice of managing to enhance single species of native plants (e.g., N. pulchra) may be detrimental to other equally important native species.
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Montana State University

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