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Ecological implications of using goats for control of juniper in TexasAuthor(s): Stephan A. Nelle
Source: In: McArthur, E. Durant; Fairbanks, Daniel J., comps. Shrubland ecosystem genetics and biodiversity: proceedings; 2000 June 13-15; Provo, UT. Proc. RMRS-P-21. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 352-355.
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (76.57 KB)
DescriptionThe Edwards Plateau region of central Texas supports a rich diversity of plants and animals. The diversity and abundance of trees and shrubs is especially noteworthy, but two species of juniper (Juniperus ashei, Juniperus pinchotii) now dominate much of the landscape. Goats are currently being recommended to control juniper infestations. The concept of using biological methods for the control of nuisance plant species has gained much attention in recent years. Some claim that biological control is more environmentally friendly and cost effective than herbicides or heavy equipment. Because juniper is one of the poorest browse plants in the region, other more desirable shrubs are browsed in preference to juniper. While goats can be managed to cause damage or even death to juniper, this level of browsing is very detrimental to a host of more palatable shrubs and trees. These more palatable species become stunted and unproductive and often die prematurely when subjected to this kind of browsing. Reproduction is impaired and eventually they are lost from the local plant community. These harmful side effects of biological juniper control are not often considered by practitioners. These side effects are easily observed, but have not been scientifically studied nor quantified.
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CitationNelle, Stephan A. 2001. Ecological implications of using goats for control of juniper in Texas. In: McArthur, E. Durant; Fairbanks, Daniel J., comps. Shrubland ecosystem genetics and biodiversity: proceedings; 2000 June 13-15; Provo, UT. Proc. RMRS-P-21. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 352-355.
Keywordswildland shrubs, genetics, biodiversity, disturbance, ecophysiology, community ecology
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