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Invasive Plants Encourage Wildfires

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Invasive species are contributing to an increase in rangeland wildfires in the U.S., says a special feature of six articles in the September issue of the journalRangeland Ecology &Management.

One article says that in the Great Basin region, invasive cheatgrass has spread among sagebrush sites. As cheatgrass becomes dominant, this fine-textured, early-maturing fuel multiplies, increasing opportunities for igniting fires and bringing about more frequent burning.

It suggests that rather than adopt cheatgrass as an early-season forage that reduces hay costs, ranchers might make more effort to eradicate such invasive plants.

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