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Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems
Contact Information
  • Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems
  • 333 Broadway SE. Suite 115
  • Albuquerque, NM 87102-3497
  • 505-724-3660
  • 505-724-3688 (fax)
You are here: Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems / Research by Project / Establishment and Persistence

Establishment and Persistence of Great Basin Native Plants

Project Title

Equipment and Strategies to Enhance the Post-wildfire Establishment and Persistence of Great Basin Native Plants


The cycle of annual weed invasion and wildfire has altered large expanses of western shrublands, disrupted ecosystem functioning, and increased wildfire size, intensity and frequency. These impacts are costly in terms of losses to native species and ecosystems, and also in risks to human life and property and wildfire-associated expenditures. Post-fire rehabilitation provides an opportunity to stabilize and revegetate at-risk shrublands. The proposed research addresses Managerís Request Task 3: Reestablishment of native vegetation after fires on arid lands. The USDI Bureau of Land Management treats more acres and expends more funds through the Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation Program (ES&R) than other agencies, and is required by Executive Orders and agency regulations to use native species where feasible. However, our ability to establish mixtures of grasses, forbs, and shrubs is limited. Our objectives are:

  • examine seeding techniques for Wyoming big sagebrush;
  • test seeding technology for native species, particularly native forbs;
  • compare the ability of a modified rangeland drill and an experimental minimum-till drill to plant native seeds of diverse size and shapes and to reduce surface disturbance, thereby conserving residual native species and biological soil crusts, while minimizing planting of annual grass seed;
  • apply and examine use of USGS proposed ES&R monitoring protocols for gauging seeding success for both the short and long term;
  • provide plantings for long-term examination of livestock grazing on diversity in native seedings.

This research will provide both basic and applied results on native restoration species and technology for their use.

Selected Publications

GSD Principal Investigators

Shaw, Nancy    Research Botanist    208-373-4360
Jensen, Scott    Botanist    801-356-5124

Cooperators and Sponsors

Needle and thread grass seed harvesting
Scott Jensen, USDA FS
Hesperostipa comata (needle and thread grass) seed harvesting with a Flail-vac seed stripper


  • Robert Cox, Texas Tech University
  • Amy Ganguli, North Dakota State University
  • Beth Newingham, University of Idaho
  • Dan Ogle, USDI NRCS Idaho State Office
  • Mike Pellant, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada State Office
  • David Pyke, USGS
  • Loren St. John, USDI NRCS Aberdeen Plant Materials Center
  • Jim Truax, Truax Co., Inc.


  • Joint Fire Science Program
  • Great Basin Native Plant Selection and Increase Project
  • National Fire Plan

Related Links

Joint Fire Science Program

<em>Crepis acuminata</em> (tapertip hawksbeard) seed
Great Basin restoration species: Crepis acuminata (tapertip hawksbeard) seed