The University of Arizona

Overstory-understory relationships for broom snakeweed-blue grama grasslands.

K.C. McDaniel, L.A. Torell, J.W. Bain

Abstract


Data collected over a 11-year period at 2 study areas near Vaughn and Roswell, N.M. were used to define equations that relate grass biomass to the amount of broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae [Pursh] Britt. & Rusby) occupying blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis [H.B.K. Lag]) rangeland over time. A 5 parameter sigmoidal growth equation and a negative exponential equation best expressed the relationship between understory grass biomass and overstory broom snakeweed biomass. Explanatory variables included realized precipitation during the second April to June) and third (July to September) quarters, which coincides primarily with warm-season grass growth. Minimum suppression of grass biomass occurred with complete elimination of broom snakeweed, suggesting control strategies with high overstory mortality will likely be most beneficial to understory production.

Keywords


understory;Gutierrezia sarothrae;Bouteloua gracilis;biomass;New Mexico

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