Effects of targeted cattle grazing on fire behavior of cheatgrass-dominated rangeland in the northern Great Basin, USA
Joel M. Diamond A C , Christopher A. Call A and Nora Devoe B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations
A Wildland Resources Department, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-5230, USA.
B Great Basin Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit, Bureau of Land Management, Reno, NV 89520-0006, USA.
C Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
International Journal of Wildland Fire 18(8) 944-950 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF08075
Submitted: 16 May 2008 Accepted: 6 March 2009 Published: 9 December 2009
We evaluated the effectiveness of using targeted, or prescribed, cattle grazing to reduce the flame length and rate of spread of fires on cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum)-dominated rangeland in northern Nevada. Cattle removed 80–90% of B. tectorum biomass during the boot (phenological) stage in grazed plots in May 2005. Grazed and ungrazed plots were burned in October 2005 to assess fire behavior characteristics. Targeted grazing reduced B. tectorum biomass and cover, which resulted in reductions in flame length and rate of spread. When the grazing treatments were repeated on the same plots in May 2006, B. tectorum biomass and cover were reduced to the point that fires did not carry in the grazed plots in October 2006. Fuel characteristics of the 2005 burns were used to parameterize dry-climate grass models in BEHAVE Plus, and simulation modeling indicates that targeted grazing in spring (May) will reduce the potential for catastrophic fires during the peak fire season (July–August) in the northern Great Basin.
Additional keywords: Bromus tectorum, fire modeling, flame length, fuel loading, rate of spread.
This study was funded by the Joint fire Science Program (project no. 04–2-1–77) and Utah Agriculture Experiment Station (UAES), Utah State University, Logan, Utah. Approved as UAES Journal Paper no. 7969. We thank the Bureau of Land Management Winnemucca Field Office and the Wildfire Support Group for help with plot installation and prescribed burning, and John Falen and Hank Kershner for providing and managing cattle for the grazing treatments. We also thank Gabrielle Diamond for assistance in the field and greenhouse.
Andrews PL, Bevins CD, Seli RC (2003) BehavePlus fire modeling system, version 2.0: user’s guide. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-106WWW. (Ogden, UT)
Blackmore M , Vitousek PM
(2000) Cattle grazing, forest loss, and fuel loading in a dry forest ecosystem at Pu’u Wa’aaWa’a Ranch Hawaii. Biotropica 32, 625–632.
| CrossRef |
(2002) Peak fire temperatures and effects on annual plants in the Mojave Desert. Ecological Applications 12, 1088–1102.
| CrossRef |
D’Antonio CM , Vitousek PM
(1992) Biological invasion by exotic grasses, the grass/fire cycle and global change. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 23, 63–87.
(1996) Livestock grazing in wildland fuel management programs. Rangelands 18, 242–245.
(1992) Semi-arid and arid rangelands: a resource under siege due to patch-selective grazing. Journal of Arid Environments 22, 191–193.
Kury BK, Alexander JD, Vollmer J (2002) Data collection and fire modeling determine potential for the use of Plateau® to establish fuel breaks in Bromus tectorum-dominated rangelands. BASF Corporation, Data Collection and Fire Modeling PowerPoint Presentation. Synergy Resource Solutions, Inc. (Sparks, NV) Available at http://www.countgrass.com/Plateau_sum_show.ppt [Verified 12 January 2008]
(1981) Invasion of Bromus tectorum L. into western North America: an ecological chronicle. Agro-ecosystems 7, 145–165.
| CrossRef |
McAdoo K, Schultz B, Swanson S (2007a) Northeastern Nevada wildfires 2006. Part 1 – Fire and land-use history. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet 07–20. (Reno, NV) Available at http://www.unce.unr.edu/publications/files/nr/2007/fs0720.pdf [Verified 12 January 2008]
McAdoo K, Schultz B, Swanson S, Orr R (2007b) Northeastern Nevada wildfires 2006. Part 2 – Can livestock be used to reduce wildfires? University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet 07–21. (Reno, NV) Available at http://www.unce.unr.edu/publications/files/nr/2007/fs0721.pdf [Verified 12 January 2008]
(2006) Using rangeland ‘green strips’ to create natural fire breaks. Rangelands 28, 22–25.
| CrossRef |
Mosley JC, Roselle L (2006) Targeted livestock grazing to suppress invasive annual grasses. In ‘Targeted Grazing: a Natural Approach to Vegetation Management and Landscape Enhancement’. (Ed. K Launchbaugh) pp. 68–77. (American Sheep Industry Association: Denver, CO)
Launchbaugh K, Brammer B, Brooks M, Bunting S, Clark P, Davison J, Fleming M, Kay R, Pellant M, Pyke DA, Wylie B (2008) Interactions among livestock grazing, vegetation type, and fire behavior in the Murphy Wildland Fire Complex in Idaho and Nevada, July 2007. US Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008–1214. (Washington, DC)
Pyne SJ, Andrews PL, Laven RD (1996) ‘Introduction to Wildland Fire.’ 2nd edn. (Wiley: New York)
Rasmussen GA (1994) Prescribed burning considerations in sagebrush annual grassland communities. In ‘Proceedings – Ecology and Management of Annual Rangelands’. (Eds SB Monsen, SG Kitchen) USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, General Technical Report INT-GTR-313, pp. 69–70. (Ogden, UT)
SAS Institute (2005) ‘JMP Statistics and Graphics Guide.’ Version 5. (SAS Institute: Cary, NC)
Scott JH, Burgan RE (2005) Standard fire behavior fuel models: a comprehensive set for use with Rothermel’s surface fire spread model. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-153. (Fort Collins, CO) Available at http://pyrologix.com/ScottBurgen2005-GTR-153.pdf [Verified 20 November 2009]
Smith EG, Davison JC, Brackley GK (2000) Controlled sheep grazing to create fuelbreaks along the urban/wildland interface of western Nevada. In ‘Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting, Society for Range Management’, 13–18 February 2000, Boise, ID. Vol. 53, pp. 73–74.
(1990) Root length, leaf area, and biomass of crested wheatgrass and cheatgrass seedlings. Journal of Range Management 43, 446–448.
| CrossRef |
(1994) Sheep grazing as a brush and fine fire fuel management tool. Sheep Research Journal 10, 92–96.
Uresk DW, Cline JF , Rickard WH
(1979) Growth rates of a cheatgrass community and some associated factors. Journal of Range Management 32, 168–170.
| CrossRef |
US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service (1997) Soil survey of the Quinn River Valley. Available at http://www2.ftw.nrcs.usda.gov/osd/dat/M/MCCONNEL.html [Verified 12 January 2008]
US Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (1998) Final multiple use decision, Daveytown Allotment. Bureau of Land Management Winnemucca Field Office, Notice of final decision E2006-314. (Winnemucca, NV) Available at http://budget.state.nv.us/clearinghouse/FYI/2006/E2006-314.pdf [Verified 7 October 2009]
US Department of Interior (2001) Review and update of the 1995 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy. Bureau of Land Management Office of Fire and Aviation, National Interagency Fire Center. (Boise, ID) Available at http://www.nifc.gov/policies/guidance/GIFWFMP.pdf [Verified 7 October 2009]
Vallentine JF (1989) ‘Range Developments and Improvements.’ 3rd edn. (Academic Press, Inc.: San Diego, CA)
Vallentine JF, Stevens AR (1994) Use of livestock to control cheatgrass – a review. In ‘Proceedings – Ecology and Management of Annual Rangelands’. (Eds SB Monsen, SG Kitchen) USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, General Technical Report INT-313, pp. 202–206. (Ogden, UT)
Young JA, Evans RA , Eckert RE
(1969) Population dynamics of downy brome. Weed Science 17, 20–26.
Young JA, Evans RA, Eckert RE , Kay BL
(1987) Cheatgrass. Rangelands 9, 266–272.