Plant Removal Study: Recovery of Vegetation Following Disturbance at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (1995-present)



In 1995, a removal study was initiated at the Sevilleta LTER to examine the response of vegetation following the removal of dominant species. Five sites were selected that were dominated by either blue grama (site 1), blue and black grama (site 2), black grama (site 3), black grama and creosote (site 4), or creosote (site 5). A sixth site was later added in the blue grama community along the foothills of the Los Pinos Mountains (site 6). At sites 1, 3, 5, and 6, five 3m x 4m plots had all plants of the dominant species removed; five 3m x 4m plots were controls. At site 2, 5 plots had blue grama removed, 5 plots had black grama removed, and 5 plots were controls. At site 4, 5 plots had black grama removed, 5 plots had creosote removed, and 5 plots were controls. Initial cover prior to removal was estimated by species for each plot. Grass was removed using a shovel to collect above-ground biomass and crowns just below the soil surface. Shrubs were removed using large clippers to collect above-ground biomass to the soil surface. All biomass removed was bagged, dried, and weighed. Plot maintenance or removal of the target dominant species is performed annually or as needed. Rain gauges were installed at each site and the corners of the areas containing each set of plots GPS'd. Plot corners are marked by nails and are flagged periodically to aid identification and minimize foot traffic in the plots. Each northeast nail has a metal tag with site and plot number on it. Erosion bridges (1 m long) were installed in plots 1, 3 and 5 (removals and controls) at sites 1-5. Initial measurements were made in 1996.

Data set ID: 


Date Range: 

Sunday, January 1, 1995 to Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Publication Date: 

Thursday, March 24, 2016