The University of Arizona

Predicting plant community response to picloram.

S.A. Kedzie-Webb, R.L. Sheley, J.J. Borkowski

Abstract


Effective rangeland weed programs require the ability to predict plant community responses to management. Our objective was to develop regression equations to predict the plant community after control with picloram using the pre-treatment plant community. Five transects were established from dense spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa Lam.) in the center of each patch to an area of low or no spotted knapweed occurrence on the outside of the patch. Transects ended in areas dominated by Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis Elmer). Twenty permanent plots (20 x 50 cm, spacing along the transect ranged from 1/2 to 2 m) were placed along this gradient. Pre-treatment density and cover of all species were sampled in each plot. Biomass of all species was harvested in plots adjacent to the transect. Picloram (4-amino-3,5,6-trichloropicolinic acid) was applied along each transect at a rate of 0.28 kg a.i. ha-1 in October 1996 to each plot. Density, cover, and biomass of all species were re-sampled in August 1998. Regression models were fit using perennial grasses, Idaho fescue, forbs, species richness, and species diversity after treatment as predicted variables. All predicted variables were indigenous species. Regressor variables used were site, transect, and spotted knapweed, a spotted knapweed quadratic component, indigenous perennial grasses, Idaho fescue, indigenous forbs, species richness, and species diversity sampled in the first year (1996) prior to treatment. The best predictive models for assessing post-management indigenous perennial grass, Idaho fescue, and species richness were based on density. The best models predicting post-management forbs and species diversity were based on cover and biomass, respectively. In 4 out of the 5 models, for a given post-management parameter, an important predictor in the model was its pre-management regressor variable. Additionally, pre-management spotted knapweed was a relatively unimportant preditar in most models. The model predicting species diversity based on density (pre-treatment) predicted an increase in species diveristy 2 years after management. This study indicated that it may be feasible to use pre-management spotted knapweed was a relatively unimportant predictor in most models. The model predicting species diversity based on density (pre-treatment) predicted an increase in species diversity 2 years after management. This study indicated that it may be feasible to use pre-management plant community data to predict post-management plant community response for spotted knapweed-infested rangeland using picloram.

DOI:10.2458/azu_jrm_v55i6_kedzie-webb


Keywords


Festuca idahoensis;endemic species;ground cover;mathematical models;regression analysis;species diversity;weed control;equations;forbs;plant communities;plant density;picloram;centaurea maculosa;biomass;range management;introduced species;Montana;invasive species;grasses

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