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James' galleta is an important understory component in northern regions of the southwestern pinyon-juniper ecosystem [65,71], and in the conifer woodland-grassland transition zones . James' galleta is a member of tallgrass communities along the New Mexico-Colorado border in association with little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii), needle-and-thread (Hesperostipa comata), purple threeawn (Aristida purpurea), and sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus) .
In Arizona James' galleta occurs in pinyon-juniper, shortgrass, and sagebrush plant communities . In Utah, James' galleta occurs in salt desert shrub, creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), desert shrub, sagebrush, pinyon-juniper , and blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima) communities . In the central portion of the Great Basin (Nevada), James' galleta forms a habitat type with big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) .
Common plant associates:
Grasses: black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda) [21,34], blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) [8,21,74], little bluestem, needle-and-thread , Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides) , desert needlegrass (Stipa speciosa) , bottlebrush squirreltail (Elymus elymoides), Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda) , alkali sacaton (Sporobolous airoides), sand dropseed [8,29,30], gyp dropseed (S. nealleyi), spike dropseed (S. contractus) , Fendler threeawn (Aristida purpurea var. fendleriana) , and western wheatgrass ,
Shrubs: shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia), Gardner's saltbush (A. gardneri), fourwing saltbush (A. canescens), valley saltbush (A. cuneata) , mound saltbush (A. obovata) , greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus), spiny hopsage (Grayia spinosa), bud sagebrush (Picrothamnus desertorum), black sagebrush (Artemisia nova) , big sagebrush (A. tridentata) , rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus spp.), winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata) [8,83], and broom snakeweed (Guitierrezia sarothrae) .
Trees: true pinyon (Pinus edulis), singleleaf pinyon (P. monophylla), Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma), Rocky Mountain juniper (J. scopularum) , and oneseed juniper (Juniperus monosperma) .
Publications listing James' galleta as a dominant or indicator species are:
Phyto-edaphic communities of the upper Rico Puerco watershed, New Mexico 
Preliminary habitat types of a semiarid grassland 
An ecological approach to classifying semiarid plant communities 
A vegetation classification system applied to southern California 
Plant associations (habitat types) of Region 2, 3rd edition 
A management-oriented classification of pinyon-juniper woodlands of the Great Basin 
Although rhizomatous, James' galleta grows in bunches. Under favorable conditions
bunches merge forming a sod . Rhizomes occur 1 to 2 inches
(2.5-5.1 cm) below the soil surface  and constitute the majority of
underground biomass. The tough, woody, scaly rhizome may reach 5 to 6 feet
(1.52-1.83 m) in length . According to Hassell and Oaks , James' galleta may
persist for at least 5 to 7 years. Roots are commonly found within the upper
soil profile, with few roots extending further than 18 inches (50 cm) below
the soil surface .
RAUNKIAER  LIFE FORM:
James' galleta reproduces through seed and development of adventitious buds on rhizomes. Since James' galleta is not a prolific seed producer , populations are maintained through production of rhizomes .
Seed: Soil moisture directly affects the flowering cycle of James' galleta , with relatively abundant soil moisture providing the cue for initiation of the reproductive phase. Seedstalks emerge under favorable moisture and will not occur during years of below normal precipitation [8,51]. James' galleta may produce seed several times within a growing season depending upon frequency and amount of summer precipitation .
Seed viability and germination are generally poor . However, seedlings have the potential to arise under dry conditions. Knipe  found James' galleta seeds to germinate at moisture tensions of 16 atmospheres (101.3 kPa). Cress  found 10-day old seedlings to have good survival at soil moisture levels down to 2.9% (-3000 kPa) under greenhouse conditions.
Vegetative production is closely tied to moisture availability. A
description is found under Seasonal Development
James' galleta prefers arid and slightly mesic habitats, with competitive abilities decreasing as moisture availability increases. James' galleta will inhabit areas receiving the majority of annual precipitation either in summer, or winter and fall . James' galleta is adapted to alkaline soils, both saline and fresh  and will grow in fine to coarse textured [53,93] sandy, loam, and clay soils .
Platou and others  observed edaphic factors associated with James' galleta within the Great Basin. James' galleta prefers neutral to moderately alkaline soils of relatively low water-holding capacity, with a coarse loamy texture. Soil surface horizons possess a low percent clay, high bulk density and high percentage of rock fragments. James' galleta was almost exclusive to soils of moderate temperature (8-15 degrees C) and relatively mesic moisture regimes (light summer precipitation). Cook and others  observed James' galleta in the Great Basin on well-drained, gravelly slopes adjacent to salt deserts. James' galleta is a prominent understory species of pinyon-juniper woodlands experiencing cool, dry winters, on soils derived from Kaibab limestone, tertiary sands and gravel basalt [44,81].
Regional: In California, James' galleta occurs on dry, sandy to rocky slopes, and flats within scrub and woodland areas . Dry, sandy plateaus are preferred sites in Arizona. In Utah, dry flats and foothills are preferred . James' galleta also thrives on well-drained, sandy soils, and fractured rockland sites of the Colorado plateau region . Preferred sites in Texas are dry rocky ledges, rolling slopes, and valley flats . West and others  provide a comprehensive overview of topography and soils where James' galleta occurs.
James' galleta is commonly found between 3,500 and 7,500 feet (1,067-2,286 m) . Elevational ranges by state are listed below:
|AZ||4,500 to 7,000 feet (1,372-2,134 m) |
|CA||3,281 to 8,202 feet (1,000-2,500 m) |
|NM||3,500 to 7,500 feet (1,067-2,286 m) |
Seedling emergence: Emergence is directly associated with late spring to early summer moisture availability, with greatest seedling emergence occurring during wetter years. In the Great Basin, Humphrey and Schupp  found annual seedling emergence of James' galleta to begin and end later than the majority of perennial associates. James' galleta was found to emerge from June to July; all other associated species showed February to June emergence intervals.
Root growth is important during early developmental stages within arid environments. West and others  observed seedlings to achieve up to 9.72 inches (24.7 cm) of root penetration at 6 weeks growth.
Vegetative growth: Moisture availability is the underlying cue for vegetative growth, with growth patterns corresponding to periods of available moisture [51,93]. A common growing season is May to September. Several periods of dormancy may occur during the growing season when moisture is lacking. In the Utah desert experimental range, James' galleta was observed to go through 4 growth-dormancy cycles in a single year .
Phenological observations of James' galleta in James' galleta-shadscale and James' galleta-sagebrush communities of New Mexico found annual growth beginning late March to early April .
Desert grassland fire regime: Knowledge of fire frequency and ecological role in desert grasslands is uncertain. Grassland fires leave no direct evidence of historical frequency, such as tree scars . Our general understanding comes from studies of plant community ecology and physiology of individual plant species along with historical accounts. Scientific research has provided indirect evidence generating several arguments to support and contradict occurrence of fire as a common component of desert grasslands.
Fires in desert grasslands were stand replacing and probably frequent. Several researchers suggest a fire frequency of 7 to 10 years for desert grasslands [95,99]. Fires in desert grasslands of the Chihuahuan Desert were probably less frequent than those of the Sonoran Desert . Many researchers view fire as a necessary component to maintain desert grasslands, mainly due to the current level of invasion by woody species in the absence of fire. It is hypothesized that shrubs in desert grasslands would not have achieved the current level of coverage if stand-replacement fires had occurred at regular intervals . Although fires may kill some grass plants and weaken others, establishment of shrub seedlings requires several more years than establishment of grasses . Grassland fires in deserts are usually low-severity and rapid. With perennial grasses, fires generally remove only a single year's growth without burning deep into root crowns, enabling grasses to sprout . Most desert shrubs with perennating buds on the root crown cannot sprout until a 0.4-inch (1 cm) diameter is achieved, and most shrubs require several growing seasons before fruiting .
The desert grassland ecosystem provides all the cues necessary for fire. Annual dry lightning storms mark the beginning of the southwestern rains, which take place late June or early July . Lightning and the dry fine fuels generated by the hot dry periods of desert grasslands provide all the components for ignition and spread. When cured and dried, desert grassland vegetation provides adequate fuels for ignition. Once ignited, plant density is the limiting factor for fire spread in the desert grasslands. The amount of fuel varies between desert grassland sites. Annual productivity can vary from almost nothing to 1,000 lbs/acre. If sparse fuels are present, light winds may carry desert grassland fires [9,95]. Grazing may reduce fuels to the point where fire will no longer carry . The Appleton-Whittell Research Sanctuary, a 7,800-acre (3,160 ha) semiarid grassland preserve in southeastern Arizona, experiences frequent wildfires associated with fuel accumulations resulting from domestic livestock exclusion .
The following table provides some fire-return intervals for communities in which James' galleta occurs. Find further fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes".
|Community or Ecosystem||Dominant Species||Fire Return Interval Range (years)|
|bluestem prairie||Andropogon gerardii var. gerardii-Schizachyrium scoparium||< 10|
|bluestem-Sacahuista prairie||Andropogon littoralis-Spartina spartinae||< 10|
|sagebrush steppe||Artemisia tridentata/Pseudoroegneria spicata||20-70 |
|basin big sagebrush||Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata||12-43 |
|mountain big sagebrush||Artemisia tridentata var. vaseyana||20-60 [4,13]|
|Wyoming big sagebrush||Artemisia tridentata var. wyomingensis||10-70 (40)** [88,102]|
|saltbush-greasewood||Atriplex confertifolia-Sarcobatus vermiculatus||< 35 to < 100|
|desert grasslands||Bouteloua eriopoda and/or Pleuraphis mutica||5-100|
|plains grasslands||Bouteloua spp.||< 35|
|blue grama-needle-and-thread grass-western wheatgrass||Bouteloua gracilis-Hesperostipa comata-Pascopyrum smithii||< 35|
|grama-James' galleta steppe||Bouteloua gracilis-Pleuraphis jamesii||< 35 to < 100|
|blue grama-tobosa prairie||Bouteloua gracilis-Pleuraphis mutica||< 35 to < 100|
|blackbrush||Coleogyne ramosissima||< 35 to < 100|
|James' galleta-threeawn shrubsteppe||Pleuraphis jamesii-Aristida purpurea||< 35 to < 100|
|little bluestem-grama prairie||Schizachyrium scoparium-Bouteloua spp.||< 35 |
In the Great Basin, burning had no effect on James' galleta seedling emergence but was
correlated with seedling survival. Significantly (p<0.05) greater seedling survival
occurred on unburned areas .
FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
James' galleta is most susceptible to fire during periods of low humidity . Fire, during years of below normal precipitation, generally reduces James' galleta within shortgrass prairies .
Prescribed burning in winter may prove less deleterious. Jameson  found James' galleta survived higher temperatures during winter than summer burns in pinyon-juniper habitats in Arizona. Fatal temperatures ranged from 135.5 to 142.2 degrees Fahrenheit (57.5-61.2 °C) in the summer (July-September) and averaged 155.48 degrees Fahrenheit (68.6 °C) in the winter (November-December) .
Domestic sheep show greater use in winter than summer months and typically feed upon central portions of James' galleta tufts, leaving coarser growth around the edges .
Desert bighorn sheep of the Mojave Desert utilize James' galleta as forage .
James' galleta provides moderately palatable forage when actively growing and relatively unpalatable forage during dormant periods [22,46,91]. James' galleta also provides usable forage after winter curing .
James' galleta may prove somewhat coarse to domestic sheep .
James' galleta is a poor source of carotene and phosphorus and is ranked fair in protein value [16,87]. Protein content is drastically reduced after winter curing [87,93]. However, James' galleta is relatively higher in digestible protein than are most desert grasses within winter ranges .
James' galleta is lower in energy than the majority of desert grasses . Nutritive quality of James' galleta in various stages, expressed as percent dry matter, is :
|Aerial part, fresh, mid-bloom||Aerial part, fresh, mature||Aerial part, fresh, overripe||Aerial part without lower stems, fresh||Aerial part without lower stems, fresh, mature||Aerial part without lower stems, fresh, dormant|
|Protein (N x 6.25)||9.9||4.9||3.6||6.5||5.2||4.0|
|Cattle - digestible protein||6.3||2.1||1.0||3.4||2.3||1.3|
|Horses - digestible protein||5.9||1.7||0.8||3.0||1.9||0.9|
|Sheep - Digestible protein||6.2||1.6||0.5||0.5||1.8||0.7|
|Vitamin A equiv. IU/g||---||0.4||---||21.2||---||---|
Winter nutritional value :
|In-vitro digestibility (%)||Crude protein (%)||Phosphorous (%)||Carotene (mg/kg)|
Although drought tolerant, initial establishment of James' galleta in arid ranges generally requires supplemental watering. Mulching is also recommended . Winkel and others  conducted mulching studies under greenhouse conditions with temperatures similar to the Mojave Desert. Results suggest use of 0.8 to 1.2 inches (2-3 cm) gravel or mulch layer for greater revegetation success. Layers deeper than 1.2 inches (3 cm) were found to prohibit germination. The same authors also recommend irrigation schedules that keep soil water content at matrix potentials above -1.50 mpa.
James' galleta's reliance upon rhizomatous expansion may lead to ecotypic variation. West and others  found root distribution to differ between areas according to annual availability of precipitation. Within habitats receiving the majority of precipitation in fall and winter, James' galleta roots were most abundant in relatively deeper areas of soil profiles. Areas where summer rains provide the majority of precipitation supported James' galleta plants with roots concentrated in upper soil layers.
Use of James' galleta for revegetation was previously limited by high seed costs. However, production of the 'Viva' cultivar has improved seed production and seedling vigor . Commercial seed is now readily available . Originally form north-central New Mexico, 'Viva' grows well on sites receiving 10 to 14 inches (250-350 mm) annual precipitation .
Knipe  observed 85% germination under constant temperatures between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5-32 °C) at 100% relative humidity. Sabo and others  recommend either a constant temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 °C) or alternating temperatures of 75 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (24-35 °C).
National regulations require seeding of native plants on disturbed mine lands in the
United States . James' galleta has been used in several mineland rehabilitation projects
in arid ecosystems [27,28,32,77]; however, quantitative data on
survivorship is limited.
OTHER USES AND VALUES:
James' galleta is not tolerant of mechanical soil disturbance , showing slow recovery .
Rangeland management: Within rangeland systems, James' galleta is generally classified as a decreaser in northern deserts and an increaser in southern deserts . Cover dynamics of James' galleta within grazing systems are driven by competition, that is, the presence of other plant species.
Perennial rangelands where James' galleta is dominant generally increase in species diversity following prolonged grazing. Grazing pressure usually allows for increased presence of annuals, which may overtake perennials depending upon duration of grazing . James' galleta is considered tolerant to highly resistant of grazing in the south, increasing as competing species cover decreases [7,19,87]. In areas where more palatable species are present, James' galleta acts as a facultative forage species, often showing better representation in grazed than in non-grazed and heavily grazed areas [7,19,60]. Greater use of James' galleta occurs in areas where other more palatable species, such as Indian ricegrass, are not as abundant .
James' galleta possesses several adaptations to grazing in arid rangelands. James' galleta's resistance to drought and tough, woody rhizome contribute to grazing tolerance . Although tolerant of grazing, rotational schedules are recommended. James' galleta requires periods of rest to maintain coverage. Continuous grazing to stubble heights less than 4 inches (10 cm) will eventually remove James' galleta [36,57].
Tetubuthiuron, used for sagebrush control, shows no negative effects on James' galleta .
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