Plant and mule deer responses to pinyon-juniper removal by three mechanical methods.

Item Metadata

Dublin Core

Title

Plant and mule deer responses to pinyon-juniper removal by three mechanical methods.

Description

Land managers in western North America often reverse succession by removing pinyon (Pinus spp.) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) trees to reduce fire risk and increase forage for wildlife and livestock. Because prescribed fire carries inherent risks, mechanical methods such as chaining, roller-chopping, and mastication are often used. Mechanical methods differ in cost and the size of woody debris produced, and may differentially impact plant and animal responses. We implemented a randomized, complete-block, split-plot experiment in December 2011 in the Piceance Basin, northwestern Colorado, USA, to compare mechanical methods and to explore seeding (subplot) interactions. We assessed vegetation 1-, 2-, 5-, and 6-years post-treatment, and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) response via GPS locations 3–8 years post-treatment. By 2016, treated plots had 3–5 times higher perennial grass cover and ~10 times higher cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) cover than untreated control plots. Roller-chopped plots had both the highest non-native annual forb cover, and when seeded, the highest density of bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), a nutritious shrub used by mule deer. Masticated plots had higher bitterbrush use during summer and fall, leaving less forage available for winter. Days of winter mule deer use from GPS point locations in chained and roller-chopped plots was ~70% higher than in control plots, while winter use in masticated plots was similar to control plots. Mule deer use appears related to a combination of hiding cover, resulting from residual woody debris, and winter forage availability. Roller-chopped plots provide the best combination of hiding cover and winter forage, but mastication or chaining, applied leaving dispersed security cover, may be better options at large scales or when invasive species concerns exist.

Bibliographic Citation

Johnston, D. B. and C. R. Anderson Jr. 2023. Plant and mule deer responses to pinyon-juniper removal by three mechanical methods. Wildlife Society Bulletin e1421. https://doi.org/10.1002/wsb.1421

Creator

Johnston, Danielle Bilyeu
Anderson Jr, Charles R.

Subject

Mule deer
Pinyon pine
Juniper

Extent

21 pages

Date Created

2023-02-25

Type

Article

Format

application/pdf

Language

English

Is Part Of

Wildlife Society Bulletin

Date Accepted

2022/11/11

Date Modified

2022/09/11

Date Submitted

2021/10/14

Collection

Citation

Johnston, Danielle Bilyeu and Anderson Jr, Charles R., “Plant and mule deer responses to pinyon-juniper removal by three mechanical methods.,” CPW Digital Collections, accessed April 17, 2024, https://cpw.cvlcollections.org/items/show/377.