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The spread and impacts of exotic species are unambiguous, global threats to many ecosystems. A prominent example is the suite of annual grasses in the Bromus genus (Bromus hereafter) that originate from Europe and Eurasia but have invaded or are invading large areas of the Western USA. This book brings a diverse, multidisciplinary group of authors together to synthesize current knowledge, research needs, and management implications for Bromus. Exotic plant invasions are multifaceted problems, and understanding and managing them requires the biological, ecological, sociological, and economic perspectives that are integrated in this book. Knowing how well information from one geographic or environmental setting can...
On August 25, 2015 speaker Matt Germino presented on his work restoring sagebrush in the Great Basin. Shrubs are ecosystem foundation species in most of the Great Basin’s landscapes. Most of the species, including sagebrush, are poorly adapted to the changes in fire and invasive pressures that are compounded by climate change. This presentation gives an overview of challenges and opportunities regarding restoration of sagebrush and blackbrush, focusing on climate adaptation, selection of seeds and achieving seeding and planting success. Results from Great Basin LCC supported research on seed selection and planting techniques are presented.
Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is a recognized, invasive annual weed of the western United States that reduces fire return times from decades to less than 5 years. To determine the interaction between rising carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) and fuel load, we characterized potential changes in biomass accumulation, C : N ratio and digestibility of three cheatgrass populations from different elevations to recent and near-term projections in atmospheric [CO2]. The experimental CO2 values (270, 320, 370, 420 μmol mol−1) corresponded roughly to the CO2 concentrations that existed at the beginning of the 19th century, that during the 1960s, the current [CO2], and the near-term [CO2] projection for 2020, respectively....
A central question of invasion biology is how an exotic species invades new habitats following its initial establishment. Three hypotheses to explain this expansion are: (1) the existence of ‘general purpose’ genotypes, (2) the in situ evolution of novel genotypes, and (3) the dispersal of existing specialized genotypes into habitats for which they are pre-adapted. Bromus tectorum is a selfing exotic winter annual grass that has achieved widespread dominance in semiarid western North America and that is actively invading salt desert habitats. We examined mechanisms driving this invasion in three complementary studies. In reciprocal seeding experiments with ten populations from saline playa, salt desert shrubland,...
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Historical disturbance regimes are often considered a critical element in maintaining native plant communities. However, the response of plant communities to disturbance may be fundamentally altered as a consequence of invasive plants, climate change, or prior disturbances. The appropriateness of historical disturbance patterns under modern conditions and the interactions among disturbances are issues that ecologists must address to protect and restore native plant communities. We evaluated the response of Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis (Beetle & A. Young) S.L. Welsh plant communities to their historical disturbance regime compared to other disturbance regimes. The historical disturbance regime of these...
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Cheatgrass began invading the Great Basin about 100 years ago, changing large parts of the landscape from a rich, diverse ecosystem to one where a single invasive species dominates. Cheatgrass dominated areas experience more fires that burn more land than in native ecosystems, resulting in economic and resource losses. Therefore, the reduced production, or absence, of cheatgrass in previously invaded areas during years of adequate precipitation could be seen as a windfall. However, this cheatgrass dieoff phenomenon creates other problems for land managers like accelerated soil erosion, loss of early spring food supply for livestock and wildlife, and unknown recovery pathways. We used satellite data and scientific...
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This dataset provides an estimate of 2015 cheatgrass percent cover in the northern Great Basin at 250 meter spatial resolution. The dataset was generated by integrating eMODIS NDVI satellite data with independent variables that influence cheatgrass germination and growth into a regression-tree model. Individual pixel values range from 0 to 100 with an overall mean value of 9.85 and a standard deviation of 12.78. A mask covers areas not classified as shrub/scrub or grass/herbaceous by the 2001 National Land Cover Database. The mask also covers areas higher than 2000 meters in elevation because cheatgrass is unlikely to exist at more than 2% cover above this threshold. Cheatgrass is an invasive grass that has invaded...
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This map shows risk models for invasive species within the ecoregion. Samples of invasive species are presenting -- falling within 4 categories (exotic, annual grasses, noxious forbs, and woody riparian). Bioclimate data for cheatgrass and tamarisk weed is also shown. The input dataset used for all analysis done for these models are also included. These data are provided by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) "as is" and may contain errors or omissions. The User assumes the entire risk associated with its use of these data and bears all responsibility in determining whether these data are fit for the User's intended use. These data may not have the accuracy, resolution, completeness, timeliness, or other characteristics...
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This map shows risk models for invasive species within the ecoregion. Samples of invasive species are presenting -- falling within 4 categories (exotic, annual grasses, noxious forbs, and woody riparian). Bioclimate data for cheatgrass and tamarisk weed is also shown. The input dataset used for all analysis done for these models are also included. These data are provided by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) "as is" and may contain errors or omissions. The User assumes the entire risk associated with its use of these data and bears all responsibility in determining whether these data are fit for the User's intended use. These data may not have the accuracy, resolution, completeness, timeliness, or other characteristics...
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These data represent simulated soil temperature and moisture conditions for current climate, and for future climate represented by all available climate models at two time periods during the 21st century. These data were used to: 1) quantify the direction and magnitude of expected changes in several measures of soil temperature and soil moisture, including the key variables used to distinguish the regimes used in the R and R categories; 2) assess how these changes will impact the geographic distribution of soil temperature and moisture regimes; and 3) explore the implications for using R and R categories for estimating future ecosystem resilience and resistance.
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We mapped eleven years of cheatgrass dieoff in the northern Great Basin. If we estimated that a dieoff occurred in a pixel anytime during that eleven year period, then the pixel was coded as dieoff. If no dieoff occurred, the pixel was coded as a non dieoff. The cheatgrass dieoff probability map was produced by inputting the coded data into a decision-tree model along with topographic data, edaphic data, land cover data, and climate data. A proxy for latitude was included. The resulting model was input into a mapping application that generated a map of cheatgrass dieoff probability.
Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) has widely invaded the Great Basin, U.S.A. The sporadic natural phenomenon of complete stand failure (‘die- off’) of this invader may present opportunities to restore native plants. A recent die-off in Nevada was precision-planted with seeds of the native grasses Poa secunda (Sandberg bluegrass) and Elymus elymoides (bottlebrush squirreltail), of both local and nonlocal origin, to ask: 1) Can native species be restored in recent B. tectorum die-offs? And 2) Do local and nonlocal seeds differ in performance? Additionally, we asked how litter removal and water addition affected responses. Although emergence and growth of native seeds was lower in die-off than control plots early in year...
Widespread cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) invasion represents a major shift in species dominance that may alter ecosystem processes across much of the western US. To investigate differences following such conversion, soil morphology and organic matter under cheatgrass-dominated and native shrub-steppe vegetation were compared by standard soil analysis procedures at seven paired sites in Idaho and Utah. Results suggest that, following conversion to cheatgrass dominance, increased porosity and labile organic inputs enhance microbial decomposition in near-surface horizons beneath cheatgrass compared to adjacent soils under native vegetation. Enhanced decomposition could result in depletion of long-term SOM, leading...
The invasion of 40 million hectares of the American West by cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.) has caused widespread modifications in the vegetation of semi-arid ecosystems and increased the frequency of fires. In addition to well-understood mechanisms by which cheatgrass gains competitive advantage, it has been implicated in reducing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) abundance and taxa diversity. We evaluated this possibility at a high elevation site in a two-pronged approach. To test whether cheatgrass changed native AMF communities in ways that affected subsequent native plant growth, we grew cheatgrass and native plants in native soils and then planted native plants into these soils in a greenhouse experiment....
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This dataset provides an estimate of 2015 cheatgrass percent cover in the northern Great Basin at 250 meter spatial resolution. The dataset was generated by integrating eMODIS NDVI satellite data with independent variables that influence cheatgrass germination and growth into a regression-tree model. Individual pixel values range from 0 to 100 with an overall mean value of 9.85 and a standard deviation of 12.78. A mask covers areas not classified as shrub/scrub or grass/herbaceous by the 2001 National Land Cover Database. The mask also covers areas higher than 2000 meters in elevation because cheatgrass is unlikely to exist at more than 2% cover above this threshold. Cheatgrass is an invasive grass that has invaded...
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FY2013Cheatgrass die-offs are unexplained instances of stand failure observed in areas of Nevada and Utah, where cheatgrass fails to grow even though it has been a dominant component of plant communities in the past. The goals of this project are to:1) provide information on the size and extent of historic (1985 - 2012) die-offs in the Winnemucca area using satellite imagery, and 2) determine if die-offs are restoration opportunities by planting and monitoring local and commercially available native grasses in die-off areas.Support is requested to fund monitoring of the restoration project through a second growing season and to develop predictive spatial models of die-off from analysis of satellite imagery and GIS...
Biological invasions are one of the greatest threats to native species in natural ecological systems. One of the most successful invasive species is Bromus tectorum L. (cheatgrass), which is having marked impacts on native plant communities and ecosystem processes. However, we know little about the effects of this invasion on native animal species in the Intermountain West. Because ants have been used to detect ecological change associated with anthropogenic land use, they seem well suited for a preliminary evaluation of the consequences of cheatgrass-driven habitat conversion. In our study, we used pitfall traps to assess ant community assemblages in intact sagebrush and nearby cheatgrass-dominated vegetation....
After wildfires in 1996 in the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) and pinyon-juniper (Pinus spp.-Juniperus spp.) zones of west-central Utah, the USDI-BLM attempted to reduce soil erosion and cheatgrass proliferation (Bromus tectorum L.) through rehabilitation treatments. We compared the vegetation of aerially seeded, chained treatments with aerially seeded but non-chained treatments for 3 years following seeding. Vegetation cover increased significantly in both treatments between the first and second year, concurrent with above-average precipitation. By the second year, seeded grasses, primarily crested wheatgrass Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn. and intermediate wheatgrass Elymus hispidus (Opiz) Meld. and Elymus elongatus...
This presentation aired as part of the Great Basin LCC webinar series on August 28, 2017. Speakers include Matt Germino, U.S. Geological Survey and Great Basin LCC; David Pyke, U.S. Geological Survey; Richard Lee, Bureau of Land Management; Mike Gregg, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Jane Mangold, Montana State University; and Brynne Lazarus, U.S. Geological Survey.Download the presentation slides: http://bit.ly/2wHxN9CDescription: Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) invasions pose a serious threat to Great Basin ecosystems. Managers and scientists are hopeful that strains of the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens that have been selected for their weed-suppressive properties in...


map background search result map search result map Interaction of historical and nonhistorical disturbances maintains native plant communities Modeling Effects of Climate Change on Cheatgrass Die-Off Areas in the Northern Great Basin Mapping Cheatgrass Dieoff Probability in the Northern Great Basin using a Decision-tree Model Near-real-time cheatgrass percent cover in the northern Great Basin, USA--2015 Understanding the Causes and Consequences of Cheatgrass Die-offs in the Great Basin Historical and 21st century soil temperature and moisture data for drylands of western U.S. and Canada Near-real-time cheatgrass percent cover in the northern Great Basin, USA--2015 BLM REA CBR 2010 MBR Invasive Species BLM REA CBR MBR 2010 Invasive Species Interaction of historical and nonhistorical disturbances maintains native plant communities Understanding the Causes and Consequences of Cheatgrass Die-offs in the Great Basin Modeling Effects of Climate Change on Cheatgrass Die-Off Areas in the Northern Great Basin Mapping Cheatgrass Dieoff Probability in the Northern Great Basin using a Decision-tree Model Near-real-time cheatgrass percent cover in the northern Great Basin, USA--2015 Near-real-time cheatgrass percent cover in the northern Great Basin, USA--2015 BLM REA CBR MBR 2010 Invasive Species BLM REA CBR 2010 MBR Invasive Species Historical and 21st century soil temperature and moisture data for drylands of western U.S. and Canada