Bromus Working Group

The Bromus Research, Education, and Extension (REE NET) project proposes to coordinate networking on the distribution and abundance, impacts, and management of exotic and invasive species in the genus Bromus (Poaceae). Bromus species include some of the most damaging exotics in the arid and semiarid ecosystems of the western US. These species are tightly linked to fire frequency and size, watershed stability, native biodiversity, and ultimately the conversion of diverse perennial communities into annual grasslands that have reduced agronomic and ecological value (Knapp 1996, Brooks and Pyke 2001). Our project will foster communication among the many Bromus specialists in the western US, ultimately leading to ideas for transformative research and extension on understanding and controlling exotic Bromus in semiarid rangelands. The Bromus REE NET project is unified by a theme of resistance (i.e. the ability to remain uninvaded) and resilience (i.e. the ability to return to a previous state after invasion) of agroecosystems to exotic and invasive Bromus species. Its objectives, stated tentatively to allow flexibility, are:

Bromus REE NET Working Group Map showing the ranges of Bromus tectorum and Bromus rubens.
  • Collate and synthesize existing distributional, ecological, biological, and management information on invasive Bromus species in the western US. Topics such as ecological amplitudes, genetic variability, history of invasion, succession, interactions with ecosystem services, effects of livestock grazing, and effectiveness of control and management techniques will be addressed.
  • Compare and contrast these variables among species and regions, identify data gaps and assumptions requiring testing, and address transferability of information and management recommendations among species and regions.
  • Assess potential responses of Bromus to climate change with the overarching question of how changes in resistance and resilience of native communities and changes in the invasiveness of Bromus will lead to changes in ecological impacts, distribution, and control of Bromus.
  • Extend findings to scientific and management communities through publications and meetings to advance understanding of processes and mechanisms underlying observed patterns, and to inform management decisions and priorities.

Cited:
--Brooks, M. L., and D. A. Pyke. 2001. Invasive plants and fire in the deserts of North America. Pages 1–14 in K. E. M. Galley and T. P. Wilson, editors. Proceedings of the invasive species workshop: the role of fire in the control and spread of invasive species. Fire conference 2000: the First National Congress on Fire Ecology, Prevention, and Management. Miscellaneous Publication No. 11, Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.
--Knapp, P. A. 1996. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) dominance in the Great Basin Desert. Global Environmental Change 6:37–52.