Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2006


Published in Great Plains Research 16:1 (Spring 2006). Copyright © 2006 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Used by permission.


Vehicle training, a common disturbance of military lands, is part of a suite of land uses that also includes cattle grazing. Yet, no studies have examined their interaction. Our objective was to review the effects of vehicle training and grazing on grassland soils and vegetation and develop a state-and-transition model that incorporates grazing and training for Fort Hood, TX. Both grazing and training can cause soil compaction and vegetation disturbance, altering hydrology and increasing erosion. While the effects of grazing largely depend on stocking rate, vehicle training causes greater disturbance when wet soils are driven on, when vehicles are turned sharply, and as the number of vehicle passes increases. Grazing and training are expected to maintain grasslands in secondary succession, though eroded sites dominated by annuals also could develop under frequent training. The state-and-transition model may guide decision making for military land managers faced with a training and grazing effects.