How Do Invasive Grasses Harm Sagebrush Country?
The spread of invasive annual grasses like cheatgrass is linked to unwanted wildfires. Cheatgrass is highly flammable and dries out earlier than native plants, leading to more frequent, hotter fires. Once sagebrush habitat burns in a megafire, its hard to restore, leaving noxious weeds that degrade rangelands and wildlife habitat.
These invasive grasses replace the sagebrush sea’s diverse, native plants — like sagebrush, wildflowers, and bunchgrasses — with a monoculture of weeds. That’s bad for birds and herds, which rely on nutritious, native perennial plants.
How We Work to Conserve Our Western Roots
* Help landowners develop sustainable, site-specific grazing plans that promote deep-rooted perennial grasses to keep the range resilient and weed-free.
* Use the groundbreaking Ecosystem Resilience & Resistance index (based on soil temperature and moisture regimes) to prioritize investments in reducing cheatgrass.
* Control invasive annual grasses and re-vegetate sites where invasives have been removed.
* Reduced the threat of invasive grasses and associated wildfire risk on 2.5 million acres.
* Produced collaborative resource that explains how fuel breaks can minimize the risk of megafires in the sagebrush ecosystem.
* Created free online tool that maps Ecosystem Resilience & Resistance.
> Read our Science to Solutions study on reducing threats from weeds and fire
> Use SGI’s Interactive Web App to map ecosystem resistance to cheatgrass
> Learn more about how to manage for healthy, diverse plants