U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska
Date of this Version
JOURNAL OF SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION, February 2023
For nearly a century, invasive annual grasses have increasingly impacted terrestrial ecosystems across the western United States. Weather variability associated with climate change and increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) are making even more difficult the challenges of managing invasive annual grasses. As part of a special issue on climate change impacts on soil and water conservation, the topic of invasive annual grasses is being addressed by scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service to emphasize the need for additional research and future studies that build on current knowledge and account for (extreme) changes in abiotic and biotic conditions. Much research has focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying annual grass invasion, as well as assessing patterns and responses from a wide range of disturbances and management approaches. Weather extremes and the increasing occurrences of wildfire are contributing to the complexity of the problem. In broad terms, invasive annual grass management, including restoration, must be proactive to consider human values and ecosystem resiliency. Models capable of synthesizing vast amounts of diverse information are necessary for creating trajectories that could result in the establishment of perennial systems. Organization and collaboration are needed across the research community and with land managers to strategically develop and implement practices that limit invasive annual grasses. In the future, research will need to address invasive annual grasses in an adaptive integrated weed management (AIWM) framework that utilizes models and accounts for climate change that is resulting in altered/new approaches to management and restoration.
U.S. government work