Dealing with Weeds and
Alien Species on Rangelands
Weeds are a silent menace in land management.
Often undetected and unnoticed until it's
too late, weeds can lead to loss of ecological
site productivity, on-site acceleration of
erosion, and changes in plant community.
The resulting negative changes in wildlife
habitat and watershed stability are potentially
NIFA and a number of its sister agencies,
as well as professional societies, have recognized
the devastating yet insidious nature of weeds
and alien species encroachment. The lay public
frequently does not distinguish between an
alien and a native plant (or animal) species.
Consequently, changes in ecological potential
and its ability to support flora and fauna
germane to it may be compromised.
For instance, a native, perennial, bunchgrass
site in Idaho that has been overtaken by
alien, annual grasses such as Cheat grass
will have a very different fire frequency
(3-5 years as opposed to 30-50 years in the
native grass site), very different erosion
rates (of a magnitude larger in the encroached
site), and very different fauna (migrating
sparrows instead of the resident sage grouse).
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