Draper After Dark Lecture
Speaker Brian Mealor presents Sea Change — How Invasive Annual Grasses are Changing Sagebrush Grasslands at this free, evening talk.
Sagebrush grasslands cover expansive areas of the western United States and provide critical habitat to hundreds of vertebrate species, but this “sagebrush sea” is changing. A suite of non-native annual grasses, predominantly downy brome or cheatgrass, has become a primary ecological threat to these ecosystems. These species can reduce biological diversity, shift species composition, and dramatically alter disturbance regimes, essentially changing how these ecosystems function. The phenomenon presents land managers with a complex set of ecological and socioeconomic challenges that are beyond simple weed control programs. We will explore why invasive grasses induce such impacts, what research tells us about its management, and how Wyoming is approaching this daunting resource challenge from a landscape-scale perspective.