New insights into invasive plant management

Feb 06, 2012 By Ann Perry
New insights into invasive plant management
Characteristic sagebrush steppe rangeland where cheatgrass has invaded and choked out most of the desirable grasses and forbs and caused a fire hazard. Credit: Jaepil Cho.

Over a decade of research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has resulted in the development of a new matrix for invasive plant management. The model was created by scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Burns, Ore., and helps land managers recognize how rangeland degradation processes vary across landscapes. ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency.

Using the model can also increase the success rate of restoring native vegetation on damaged landscapes, which supports the USDA priority of responding to climate change.

Ecologist Roger Sheley synthesized a range of findings from scientific literature and field research to develop the model, which is called Ecologically Based Invasive-Plant Management (EBIPM). The process is a mix of plant establishment and succession theories, ecological principles, the identification of parameters that contribute to invasive plant management, and management actions that help restore native forage plants for livestock and wildlife. Sheley works at the ARS Range and Meadow Forage Management Research Unit in Burns.

Sheley and his colleagues based EBIPM on three general causes of plant succession: site availability, species availability, and species performance. They identified site-specific that influence plant succession dynamics and determined how these processes are modified by environmental and human factors that affect plant establishment and long-term vegetation change. This information can be used to fine-tune the mechanisms and processes influencing plant succession, all of which helps rout invasive plants and support the return of and forbs.

Sheley and his colleagues tested their model in Montana's Kicking Horse Wildlife Mitigation Area at three sites that had varying degrees and types of damage from invasive plants. Using EBIPM, Sheley was able to increase the chance of restoration success by 66 percent over traditional approaches to invasive weed management. Sheley believes that EBIPM, which is also called "augmentative restoration," could be a valuable new tool for in the western rangelands, where like cheatgrass are fueling wildfires and limiting livestock grazing options.

Results from this work have been published in Rangeland Ecology and Management, Journal of Invasive Plant Science and Management, and www.ebipm.org .

Explore further: Research challenges understanding of biodiversity crisis

More information: Read more about Sheley's research in the February 2012 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Provided by USDA Agricultural Research Service

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Livestock Can Help Rangelands Recover from Fires

Oct 01, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A 14-year study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Oregon found that rangelands that have been grazed by cattle recover from fires more effectively than rangelands that have ...

Finding new forages for rangeland cattle

Jan 25, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Cattle that graze on rangelands in the western United States may soon have a new forage option, thanks to work by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist.

Plant breeding helps revive western rangelands

Feb 12, 2010

For more than two decades, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have been developing new grasses and forages that can hold their own on the rugged rangelands of the western United States. As a result of that work, ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Apr 18, 2014

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

User comments : 0

More news stories