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Bridging the gap between spatial modeling and management of invasive annual grasses in the imperiled sagebrush biome

March 23, 2022

Invasions of native plant communities by non-native species present major challenges for ecosystem management and conservation. Invasive annual grasses such as cheatgrass, medusahead, and ventenata are pervasive and continue to expand their distributions across imperiled sagebrush-steppe communities of the western United States. These invasive grasses alter native plant communities, ecosystem function, and fire regimes, threatening sagebrush ecosystem persistence. Spatial data describing the distribution and abundance of invasive species are often used by resource managers to identify, target, and determine needed interventions. However, there are challenges associated with translating these datasets into management actions. We conducted a review of available spatial products to assess advances in, and barriers to, applying contemporary model-based maps to support rangeland management. We found dozens of regional data products describing cheatgrass or annual herbaceous cover and few maps describing ventenata or medusahead. Over the past decade, IAG spatial data increased in spatial and temporal resolution and increasingly used response variables that indicate the severity of infestation such as percent cover. Despite improvements, use of such data is limited by the time required to find, compare, understand, and translate model-based maps into management strategy. There is also a need for products with higher spatial resolution and accuracy. In collaboration with a multipartner stakeholder group, we identified key considerations that guide selection of IAG spatial data products for use by land managers and other users. On the basis of these considerations, we discuss issues that contribute to a research-implementation gap between users and product developers and suggest future directions for improved development of management-ready spatial products.

Publication Year 2022
Title Bridging the gap between spatial modeling and management of invasive annual grasses in the imperiled sagebrush biome
DOI 10.1016/j.rama.2022.01.006
Authors Bryan C. Tarbox, Nathan D. Van Schmidt, Jessica E. Shyvers, D. Joanne Saher, Julie A. Heinrichs, Cameron L. Aldridge
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Rangeland Ecology & Management
Index ID 70230024
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center