Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Lacey E. Wilder; Kari E. Veblen; Kevin L. Gunnell; Thomas A. Monaco
    Date: 2018
    Source: Restoration Ecology. 27(2): 308-319.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (730.0 KB)


    Overabundance of woody plants in semiarid ecosystems can degrade understory herbaceous vegetation and often requires shrub reduction and seeding to recover ecosystem services. We used meta-analysis techniques to assess the effects of fire and mechanical shrub reduction over two post-treatment timeframes (1-4 and 5-10 years) on changes in cover and frequency of 15 seeded species at 63 restoration sites with high potential for recovery. Compared to mechanical treatments, fire resulted in greater increases in seeded species. Native shrubs did not increase, and forbs generally declined over time; however, large increases in perennial grasses were observed, suggesting that seeding efforts contributed to enhanced understory herbaceous conditions. We found greater increases in a few non-native species than native species across all treatments, suggesting the possibility that interference among seeded species may have influenced results of this regional assessment. Differences among treatments and species were likely driven by seedbed conditions, which should be carefully considered in restoration planning. Site characteristics also dictated seeded species responses: while forbs showed greater increases in cover over the long term at higher elevation sites considered to be more resilient to disturbance, surprisingly, shrubs and grasses had greater increases in cover and frequency at lower elevation sites where resilience is typically much lower. Further research is needed to understand the causes of forb mortality over time, and to decipher how greater increases of non-native relative to native seeded species will influence species diversity and successional trajectories of restoration sites.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Wilder, Lacey E.; Veblen, Kari E.; Gunnell, Kevin L.; Monaco, Thomas A. 2018. Influence of fire and mechanical sagebrush reduction treatments on restoration seedings in Utah, United States. Restoration Ecology. 27(2): 308-319.


    Google Scholar


    Artemisia tridentata, dryland restoration, herbaceous understory, mechanical treatment, restoration seeding, seedling establishment, shrub encroachment

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page