Ecology, Management and Biomass Utilization
Dr. Jim Ansley, Professor & Project Leader
Dr. Mustafa Mirik, Associate Research Scientist
Brady Surber, Research Technician
Woody plant or “brush” encroachment on grasslands and rangelands is a worldwide phenomenon. Woody plants can have harmful effects on rangelands by reducing grass species cover and diversity which can lead to increased erosion and reduced forage production for livestock. However, woody plants can often be beneficial for habitat for many wildlife species and are a major source of carbon sequestration in rangeland ecosystems. Knowledge and technology are needed to better understand these interactions and offer sustainable woody plant management solutions that accommodate overall ecosystem health and sustainable goods and services from these important lands.
RANGELAND WOODY PLANT RESEARCH GOALS:
Our overall aim is to develop sustainable options for mitigating the negative effects of woody plant invasion on grasslands and rangelands. Specifically our goals are:
- Determine the most effective and sustainable management options for converting mesquite and juniper thickets to savannas or grasslands
- Quantifying the competitive interactions between woody plants and grasses and better understand the most vulnerable points of grass responses to brush
- Develop potential of rangeland woody plants for bioenergy uses as a means of rangeland restoration.