Owens and Norton examined the role of grazing and protective plant cover on basin big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata spp. tridentata) seedling survival on crested wheatgrass (Agropyron desertorum) seeded pastures after short duration, high intensity sheep or cattle grazing. During the grazing period, survival of seedlings was lower and grazing reduced survival of unsheltered seedlings. Sheltered seedlings had greater seedling survival in general but during the end of season drought, survival of sheltered seedlings in grazed pastures was greater than in ungrazed pastures, possibly because of increased soil moisture due to defoliation of competing vegetation. The results of this study indicate that the mortality rate of basin big sagebrush seedlings is very high and that grazing and an unsheltered growing site increases mortality. However, the authors suggest that seedlings sheltered by larger basin big sagebrush plants will eventually need to compete with those plants for resources and may not survive.
Interactions of grazing and plant protection on basin big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata) seedling survival
Artemisia tridentata spp. tridentata
basin big sagebrush
protective canopy cover