Responses of selected wildlife species to the removal of mesquite from desert grassland

  • Published source details Germano D.J., Hungerford R. & Martin S.C. (1983) Responses of selected wildlife species to the removal of mesquite from desert grassland. Journal of Range Management, 36, 309-311.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Remove problematic vegetation

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Remove/control non-native plants

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Remove problematic vegetation

    A site comparison study in desert grassland in Arizona, USA (Germano et al. 1983), found that more Gambel’s quail Lophortyx gambelii were seen and more Gambel’s quail, mourning dove Zenaida macroura, white-winged dove Zenaida asiatica, and scaled quail Callipepla squamata were heard in undisturbed velvet mesquite Prosopis juliflora var. velutina and mesquite with clearings than on mesquite-free pasture. There were no significant differences between undisturbed mesquite and mesquite with clearings.


  2. Remove/control non-native plants

    A site comparison study in 1976–1978 in three desert sites in Arizona, USA (Germano et al. 1983) found that partial removal of velvet mesquite Prosopis juliflora var. velutina did not increase abundances of six mammal species, and complete removal reduced the abundance of two species. The abundance of black-tailed jackrabbits Lepus californicus was higher in the undisturbed (0.37/km) and partially cleared mesquite sites (0.36/km) than in the cleared, mesquite-free, site (0.06/km). The same pattern held for antelope jackrabbit Lepus alleni (0.37 and 0.56 vs 0.09/km). However, abundances were similar in the undisturbed, partially and fully cleared sites for desert mule deer Odocoileus hemionus crooki (0.30, 0.24 and 0.16/km), javelina Dicotyles tajacu (0.24, 0.15 and 0.00/km), coyote Canis latrans (0.05, 0.06 and 0.01/km) and desert cottontail Sylvilagus audubonii (0.04, 0.02 and 0.03/km). Mesquite was cleared from one 300 ha site in 1955 using diesel oil, and partially removed from a second 300 ha site by clearing seven 2.8–30.4 ha patches by chaining in July 1976. At the third 300 ha site, mesquite was left undisturbed. Mammals were counted monthly along four 1,200-m transects between September 1976 and June 1978.

    (Summarised by: Ricardo Rocha)

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