Burning invasive western juniper will increase the time — post-fire — that native mountain sagebrush will stay the dominant woody vegetation within the plant group by a minimum of 44 % in comparison with reducing juniper again, in keeping with a brand new examine in Ecology and Evolution by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their collaborators.
You will need to keep sagebrush because the dominant woody vegetation in sagebrush steppe communities within the northwestern U.S. the place western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook) is encroaching on and changing sagebrush. Among the many advantages are offering endangered sage-grouse higher long-term habitat. Nonetheless, as quickly as juniper cowl reaches 3%, sage-grouse stops utilizing the area. As well as, juniper encroachment enormously will increase erosion dangers, and reduces forage manufacturing by 2- to 10-fold, relying on the precise website.
A group of scientists from the ARS Range and Meadow Forage Management Research Laboratory in Burns, Oregon, Oregon State University and The Nature Conservancy in contrast the outcomes of prescribed burns with areas the place chopping down juniper was employed because the management methodology at 77 sagebrush steppe areas in Southeastern and Southcentral Oregon, Northern California and Southwestern Idaho.
The researchers checked out ecological knowledge for so long as 33 years after both fire or chopping down juniper was used to regulate junipers.
Beforehand, shorter time period research had instructed that chopping was a more practical practice.
Eradicating juniper by slicing is considerably costlier than utilizing prescribed fires. However, reducing doesn’t lead to any quick lack of sagebrush and sage-grouse habitat as prescribed burning does.
Evaluating reducing and prescribed burn results over a prolonged time not solely supplied evidence that prescribed burns offered prolonged juniper management, it additionally validated the ecological model that had predicted this end result.
With this analysis, federal and state land administration businesses and personal landowners will have the ability to make higher choices about choosing management strategies.
The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house analysis company. Daily, ARS focuses on options to agricultural issues affecting America. Every dollar invested in agricultural analysis ends in $20 of financial impression.