In the US West, Researchers Consider a Four-Legged Tool to Fight Two Foes: Wildfire and Cheatgrass

Cheatgrass first spread to the western United States in the 1800s, carried by settlers and contaminated with seed and straw. Sharp, hairy, almost hairy plants spread like weeds, choke the native grass, and, after drying, burn like fire.

Today, it accounts for about one-fifth to one-third of the Great Basin, from the Nevada to California, Utah, and large areas of the West, including parts of Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming. In some places and years the growth has been as dense as a carpet, but even in areas where it has been mixed with native species, the invader has changed the risk of fire and created a new wildfire cycle. Over the last three decades, the number of lands burned has almost doubled.

Efforts to curb fraud and other invasive weeds have been the task of scientists at universities, government agencies, and land management organizations in the West. However, tools to reduce the spread of invasive plants are limited – they can be cut, sown by local plants or treated with herbicides, but each method has its drawbacks and limitations. Scientists and researchers are now pursuing another low-tech option to combat fraud.

A new study this spring showed cattle in strategic grazing in the fall – more than half the size of the plant to be ignited – to reduce the number of cheeses by more than half and create important gaps in grass-fed fields to prevent wildfires from escalating. Plants and propagation. The findings from researchers at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, the University of Nevada – Reno, and the US Department of Agriculture are part of a study that explores how grazing practices in the Western world can be managed by humans.

Fraud can double the risk of fire in one area. The “bush grasses” and shrubs in the West may delay the spread of wildfires because the flames in a pile of grass are not easily spread out on bare ground. But fraud is rampant in what firefighters call the “next fuel bed,” a thick layer of grass that allows fire to spread easily.

“We can’t control all fires, but we can change those fuel characteristics in a way that gives us a chance,” said Barry Perman, author of the study and chairman of the Department of Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine and Rangeland Sciences. At the University of Nevada – Reno.

Perman and his colleagues are using liquid protein supplements – a mixture of protein and molasses in large tanks – to graze cows in some areas of Nevada grazing grass, which is heavily infested, and some are even miles away. On flat ground, the cattle ate enough to chew the grass and create oil spills, where vegetation was removed to prevent the fire from crossing. Grazing has reduced fraud by an average of more than 60 percent.

But how the results are implemented will vary depending on the location, because the ecological conditions that cause the spread of cheetah grass are complex, and need to be addressed by land management. Rainfall, topography, frequency of fires, frequency of grazing, and indigenous vegetation all contribute to effective grazing and grazing control.

Fraud lays its roots in the spring or spring and grows earlier and shoots earlier into the soil to hit more permanent grasses for wealth. It releases the seed and saves fuel for wildfires, too. After burning, these seeds germinate rapidly, hitting the natives and allowing them to spread further.

“It’s just a lot of competition,” says Jane Chambers, a senior scientist at the Rocky Mountain Research Center at the US Forest Service. “Once it grows in a favorable environment, it can grow very fast and grow many seeds.”

The Great Grass Invasion West of Mount Mountain

In mid-summer, the plant turns into straw. In the past, fire extinguishers were now scattered throughout the landscape. And climate change is helping it grow. Cheatgrass quickly settles after a fire breaks out in one area. Warm weather and rainfall are helping to reach higher heights, although such changes make it difficult to grow in some areas. Researchers estimate that annual grasses, such as scams, have more than eight times the size of the Great Basin since 1990.

And when fraud dominates an area, Chambers said, even in hot, dry, and windy “fire weather”, it can explode relatively easily. That pushed parts of the Great Basin into a cycle of fires faster than ever before. The “wildfire crisis” has created more partnerships between federal and state agencies to tackle the problem, with Chambers, creating projects such as Perman and the USA.

Putting cattle and other species on the land of fraud is a win-win situation, says Mark Lassie, a cattle rancher in California, which borders the Great Basin. Livestock need grazing land, and cows chew grass is a cheap tool for state and local governments as a firefighting resource. He said the system will support the economy by driving, producing food and creating jobs in many rural areas.

The important thing about grazing is, at least in terms of cattle, that most cattle are happy when they go for grazing and we are happy to work for free. As a result, there is little or no cost to the state of California and to taxpayers, ”said Lasei, a former president of the California Cattle Association. “We can do what we have to do naturally and the state will get that service.”

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According to Lesey, California has not seen the same amount of grass burning as other parts of the Great Basin, which means fraud has no footprint. But the grass grows in disarray, so as the fires intensify due to climate change, it will continue to move into new areas.

“It’s very invasive — it spreads easily. “If we start burning these many cyber highlands, there is no doubt that fraud will ensue.

Leaving the land to total fraud is not an option. In part, because of the fires, but because many species rely on the areas they invade. For Lassie, it is important to protect the home of the great wise man, who is to be listed in the Law of Endangered Species. If the bird population suffers, the government can put new protections on the land, which will allow the cattle to graze where and when.

The understanding of environmentalists who control fraud is growing in real time. Chambers, who did not participate in the study, wanted to see out-of-season grazing in different places, in different plant communities and in different environmental conditions.

“One size fits all,” she said. “We have to be able to adapt to the unique conditions we have in a particular area.”

Juta Berger, director of science at the Invasion Plants Council in California, said grazing needs to be adapted to the environment. Animal husbandry can reduce fuel costs and fire hazards, but locals must comply with other authorities, such as sowing seeds, to restore them, he said.

“Just because something reduces fuel consumption does not mean that it will improve the native land for many years to come,” she says. “There is definitely a role. [for grazing]”There is no silver bullet.”

Dealing with fraud and other invasive weeds requires serious consideration of the timing, duration, and intensity of the exercise, but requires greater flexibility for grazing, Perman said. For example, licenses issued by federal agencies to grazing farmers are partly designed to keep sustainable grass healthy and prevent cattle from overcrowding. But fraud has changed those areas, and Perman should explain how the invading grass is managed, at least for the natives.

“They are all the same package. “You can’t connect without one.”

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