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Effects of Targeted Grazing and Prescribed Burning on Community and Seed Dynamics of a Downy Brome (Bromus tectorum)–Dominated Landscape

  • Joel M. Diamond (a1), Christopher A. Call (a2) and Nora Devoe (a3)
Abstract

Downy brome (Bromus tectorum L.)—dominated communities can remain as stable states for long periods, even with frequent disturbance by grazing and fire. The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of using targeted cattle grazing and late-season prescribed burning, alone and in combination, to reduce B. tectorum seed bank input and seed bank density and thus alter aboveground community dynamics (species composition) on a B. tectorum–dominated landscape in northern Nevada. Cattle removed 80 to 90% of standing biomass in grazed plots in May of 2005 and 2006 when B. tectorum was in the boot (phenological) stage. Grazed and ungrazed plots were burned in October 2005 and 2006. The combined grazing–burning treatment was more effective than either treatment alone in reducing B. tectorum seed input and seed bank density, and in shifting species composition from a community dominated by B. tectorum to one composed of a suite of species, with B. tectorum as a component rather than a dominant. This study provides a meso-scale precursor for landscape-scale adaptive management using grazing and burning methodologies.

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Corresponding author's E-mail: firebiod@yahoo.com
References
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