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Circular 1335

Piñon and Juniper Field Guide: Asking the Right Questions to Select Appropriate Management Actions

By R.J. Tausch, U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, R.F. Miller, Oregon State University, B.A. Roundy, Brigham Young University, and J.C. Chambers, U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station

This is contribution number 02 of the Sagebrush Steppe Treatment Evaluation Project (SageSTEP), supported by funds from the U.S. Joint Fire Science Program. Partial support for this guide was provided by the U.S. Geological Survey Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center.

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (19.1 MB)Overview

Piñon-juniper woodlands are an important vegetation type in the Great Basin. Old-growth and open shrub savanna woodlands have been present over much of the last several hundred years. Strong evidence indicates these woodlands have experienced significant tree infilling and major expansion in their distribution since the late 1800s by encroaching into surrounding landscapes once dominated by shrubs and herbaceous vegetation. Both infilling and expansion affects soil resources, plant community structure and composition, water and nutrient cycles, forage production, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and fire patterns across the landscape. Another impact is the shift from historic fire regimes to larger and more intense wildfires that are increasingly determining the future of this landscape. This publication helps biologists and land managers consider how to look at expansion of woodlands and determine what questions to ask to develop a management strategy, including prescribed fire or other practices.


For additional information contact:
Communications and Information Management Program, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center,
U.S. Geological Survey, 777 NW 9th Street
Corvallis, Oregon 97330

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Tausch, R.J., Miller, R.F., Roundy, B.A., and Chambers, J.C., 2009, Piñon and juniper field guide: Asking the right questions to select appropriate management actions: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1335, 96 p.


Questions to be Addressed
Setting Goals and Objectives
Part I: The Ecological Site
Part II: The Current State of the Site
Part III: Landscape Considerations
Part IV: Selecting Appropriate Management Actions and Treatments
Appendix 1: Field Assessment Form
Appendix 2: Species Codes
Glossary of Terms

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