Fuels Reduction and Ungulate Grazing Effects on Exotic Plant Species are Short-lived in Upland Forest Understories
To learn more about the interaction among of fuel reduction treatments, grazing, and establishment of exotic plant species, Forest Service researchers conducted a 6-year landscape experiment at the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range in Oregon. Treatments included mechanical fuels reduction and prescribed fire in dry forest understories, versus untreated areas, combined with varying densities of cattle and elk grazing versus no grazing. They found that varying combinations of fuels reduction and ungulate grazing had only minor effects on exotic plant species richness and cover. Exotic plant establishment was short-lived following fuels treatments and was not strongly affected by either cattle or elk grazing. These results point to the need for ecosystem-specific research on disturbance effects of fire and other fuels reduction treatments and ungulates to understand these individual and combined effects on exotic plant dynamics.
Forest Service Partners