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Individual Highlight

A Comprehensive Look at Pinyon and Juniper Woodlands in the Western U.S.

Photo of Ten years following pinyon juniper removal, the treatment resulted in a significant increase in shrubs and perennial grasses and forbs. This mountain big sagebrush/Idaho fescue site has high resilience and resistance to invasive grasses.
Ten years following pinyon juniper removal, the treatment resulted in a significant increase in shrubs and perennial grasses and forbs. This mountain big sagebrush/Idaho fescue site has high resilience and resistance to invasive grasses. Snapshot : Pinyon and juniper woodlands occupy over 70,000 square miles of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau, extending across a climatic gradient from eastern Oregon to the Four Corners of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. Both land managers and the communities that depend on these woodlands are concerned about ongoing changes and environmental degradation. This new synthesis builds the necessary understanding to help determine appropriate management of these important ecosystems.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Chambers, Jeanne C.  
Research Location : Great Basin and Northern Colorado Plateau
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2020
Highlight ID : 1731

Summary

Pinyon and juniper woodlands of the Western U.S. are undergoing changes, affecting the communities that depend on them. Expansion of the woodlands into surrounding ecosystems is occurring in many areas, particularly on relatively cool and moist sites, which is increasing woody fuels and the risk of more severe fires. It also descreases important habitat for species like the Greater Sage-grouse.  In warmer and drier sites, the trees are exhibiting dieoff, making the areas more susceptible to invasion by cheatgrass.  This research synthesized over 1,000 publications to help land managers, working collaboratively with stakeholders and citizens, prioritize areas for treatment and identify strategies best suited to meet local needs. This synthesis on semiarid pinyon and juniper woodlands offers information on the history of woodland management, approaches available, and the key components to consider for restoring and maintaining ecosystem function and ecological resilience to disturbance. It supports land managers, working with stakeholders and citizens, as they prioritize areas for management and identify the strategies best suited to meet local needs.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Jason C. Williams, Keirith A. Snyder, and Fred B. Pierson - USDA Agricultural Research Service
  • Richard F. Miller - Oregon State University
  •  Bruce A. Roundy - Brigham Young University
  •  Louisa Evers - USDI Bureau of Land Management