Increasing native diversity of cheatgrass-dominated rangeland through assisted succession

Cox, Robert D.
Anderson, Val Jo
Rangeland Ecology & Management / Journal of Range Management Archives
Publication Year: 
Increasing attention, resources and efforts are being focused on the conversion of weedy dominated rangelands back to perennial plant communities that resemble predisturbance communities in form, function and composition. A study was conducted in 1998 and replicated again in 1999 to determine whether native plants could be established through “assisted succession” - manipulating a cheatgrass-dominated area to perennial plant domination, then to native or near-native diversity. Cheatgrass dominated rangeland that had been successfully revegetated with crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum [L.] Gaertner) was seeded with native species. Another area dominated by cheatgrass, but without crested wheatgrass, was also seeded. Four seedbed preparation methods were investigated: tilling, harrowing, application of a herbicide, and no treatment. Four different seeding methods were used in the 2 areas and 4 seedbed preparation techniques: drilling, broadcasting, a broadcast-cover method, and no seed. Seeding was done in February, and data were collected in mid-summer each year. Native grasses and shrubs emerged in greater numbers on treatments established on the crested wheatgrass matrix than on those established on the cheatgrass matrix. Perhaps in general, but especially in years with normal or below average precipitation, the assisted succession approach proved successful for restoration of native sagebrush-grassland steppe from cheatgrass range.DOI:10.2458/azu_jrm_v57i2_cox
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Non-AGROVOC Keywords: 
Society for Range Management

Rangeland Ecology & Management (formerly the Journal of Range Management) serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of facts, ideas, and philosophies pertaining to the study, management, ecology, and use of rangelands and their resources. The journal is peer-reviewed and provides international exchange of scholarly research and information among persons interested in rangelands. The Global Rangelands collection includes REM content up to 5 years from the current year. More recent content is available by subscription from BioOne and the Society for Range Management, and may be available at your local university library.
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