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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The influence of plant removal on succession in Wyoming big sagebrush

Published source details

Boyd C.S. & Svejcar T.J. (2011) The influence of plant removal on succession in Wyoming big sagebrush. Journal of Arid Environments, 75, 734-741


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Allow shrubland to regenerate without active management Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A replicated, randomized, controlled study between 1998 and 2008 in sagebrush scrub in Oregon, USA (Boyd & Svejcar 2011) found that allowing shrubland to recover from disturbance without any active restoration increased shrub cover to a level similar to that found in undisturbed shrublands, while annual grass cover was higher than seen in undisturbed shrublands and perennial grass cover was lower. Ten years after all vegetation was removed shrub cover had increased from 2% to 22%, similar to the cover of 24% seen in undisturbed shrublands. Over 10 years perennial grass cover increased from 0% to 10% but was still lower than the cover of 25% found in undisturbed shrubland. Annual grass cover increased from 2% to 7% and this was higher than the 2% cover seen in undisturbed shrubland. However, annual forb cover declined from 20% to 3%, similar to the cover of 1% seen in undisturbed shrubland. Perennial forb cover did not show a significant change over time (1% vs 2%) and was not significantly different from cover seen in undisturbed shrubland (1%). In 1998 all vegetation was removed from five 36 m2 plots using glyphosate herbicide with a further five plots receiving no treatment. Vegetation cover was estimated in five 0.2 m2 quadrats in each experimental plot between 1999 and 2008.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)