Secret, Pristine Grassland Provide Scientists Precious Insight Into How Undisturbed Ecosystems Function

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Southwest Biological Science Center and National Park Service personnel were featured in a KSL TV story about a hidden, pristine grassland in Canyonlands National Park that is used for scientific study.

U.S. Geological Survey researchers from the Southwest Biological Science Center and the National Park Service were featured in a KSL TV story about a hidden grassland in Canyonlands National Park that has never been grazed by domestic livestock. However, a non-native annual grass (Bromus tectorum; commonly known as ‘cheat grass’) did invade this otherwise pristine grassland in the mid-1990s. This makes the 62-acre grassland a great site to study how undisturbed ecosystems respond to climate and invasion by non-native grasses.  Studying relatively intact grasslands like the one in Canyonlands National Park could yield information useful to ranchers and others who manage lands in the arid West. To learn more about the research and to see some great footage, check out the story titled “A secret trail to Utah’s protected paradise”:  

Grassland in Canyonlands National Park

USGS scientists measure biological soil crust cover in the study grassland. (Credit: Mike Duniway, USGS Southwest Biological Science Center. Public domain.)

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Date published: September 16, 2018
Status: Active

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