James A. Young and Charlie D. Clements: Cheatgrass. Fire and forage on the range
The native grasslands of the Great Basin and the floristically/ecologically allied steppe that stretches north as far as the Okanogan Valley in British Columbia have in the last 120 years been further linked by a common scourge—the invasive annual grass, Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass, downy brome). Since its arrival at the end of the 19th century in the western third of the US and adjacent Canada, this small grass (usually less than 50-cm tall) has nonetheless brought about devastating consequences for native plant and animal communities, regional hydrology, and human ecology in this vast (>500,000 km2), largely treeless area between the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada/Cascade Ranges. Any public works program, almost regardless of expense, would seem money and effort well spent if it could curb cheatgrass and the region’s other invasive species. The research and technology leading to such restoration are the main topics of the book, “Cheatgrass. Fire and Forage on the Range” by J. A....
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