Western Sierra

Much of my scientific research is directly applicable to environmental problem-solving.  Here you will find links to resources and documents that summarize results from my research for practical application by land managers, home-owners, and the general public.

Feel free to contact me if you would like additional information about my work.

Cheatgrass control in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, CA

Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) is an annual invasive grass from Eurasia that has spread throughout the Great Basin Desert and caused changes to the fire cycle throughout large parts of Nevada and some areas in eastern California. It has negative impacts on biodiversity, habitat for native species, and forage for cattle. I have worked on research on cheatgrass in the Eastern Sierra since 2007, studying its response to snowpack, impacts on the native plant community, and methods of control. For information on effectiveness of cheatgrass control in our region, click on the links below.

  • Homeowner's Guide to Cheatgrass. Are you a home-owner in the Eastern Sierra with cheatgrass on your land? If so, read this document for some suggestions about low-cost, low-tech, non-chemical approaches to getting rid of cheatgrass.
  • Land Manager's Guide to Cheatgrass Control. I conducted a series of experiments on the effectiveness, non-target effects, costs and labor of soil solarization, sheet mulching, and hand pulling outlier patches of cheatgrass at high elevation. Results are presented here.

Climate change and plant communities in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, CA

With Drs. Michael Loik, Alden Griffith, and Catherine Wade, I have been studying climate change impacts on Eastern Sierra plant communities since 2007. We are looking at impacts of predicted shifts from snow to rain on the sagebrush steppe ecosystem with a particular interest in biodiversity loss and cheatgrass dominance. We have also looked at the role of increasing anthropogenic nitrogen deposition on plant community change. Results from our work are summarized below, highlighting when and where the system might be most susceptible to species loss and cheatgrass invasion.