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The Combined Influence of Grazing, Fire, and Herbaceous Productivity on TreeGrass

Summary: 12
The Combined Influence of Grazing, Fire,
and Herbaceous Productivity on Tree­Grass
Samuel D. Fuhlendorf, Steven A. Archer, Fred E. Smeins,
David M. Engle, and Charles A. Taylor, Jr.
Although Juniperus communities are native to most regions of North America, they
have proliferated in many areas of the Great Basin and Great Plains that historically
supported grasslands, shrublands, and savannas. Explanations for the observed
increases in Juniperus dominance, as well as other woody plant communities, are
the subject of ongoing debate. The balance between herbaceous and woody vegeta-
tion is regulated by complex interactions between climate (e.g., amount and sea-
sonality of rainfall), soils (e.g., soil texture and depth), and disturbance regimes
(e.g., fire, gazing, browsing) (Walker 1987; Scholes and Archer 1997; Higgins
et al. 2000). Changes in one or more of these factors can potentially elicit a change
in the ratio of woody to herbaceous plants. Accordingly, climate change, intensifi-
cation of grazing, elimination of fire and browsing (Hastings and Turner 1965;
Grover and Musick 1990; Archer 1994; Fuhlendorf et al. 1996), atmospheric CO2
enrichment (Idso 1992; Johnson et al. 1993), and nitrogen deposition (Köchy and


Source: Archer, Steven R. - Savanna/Woodland Ecology Lab., School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology