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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Tracked Vehicle Impacts on Vegetation at the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, Colorado


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 19 No. 2, p. 234-243
    Received: Feb 9, 1988

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. R. B. Shaw * and
  2. V. E. Diersing
  1. D ep. of Range Science, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523;
    U .S. Army Corps of Eng., Engineering and Housing Support Center (CEHSC-FN), Natural and Cultural Resour. Div., Ft. Belvoir, VA 22060.



The effects of military tracked vehicle maneuvers on the vegetation of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS), southeastern Colorado, were assessed from 1985 to 1987. Tracking decreased plant basal and litter cover and increased bare ground. The immediate effect of tracking was to reduce perennial warm-season grasses [primarily blue grama, Bouteloua gracilis (H.B.K.) Lag. ex. Griffith] followed by the invasion of annual cool-season grasses [sixweeks grass, Vulpia octoflora (Walt.) Rybd., and little barley, Hordeum pusillum Nutt.] and annual warm-season forbs [sunflower, Helianthus annuus L., russian thistle, Salsola iberica Sennen & Pau, and kochia, Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrab.]. In untracked areas, herbaceous plant composition did not change; however, litter increased and bare ground and basal cover decreased. Changes in cover in untracked areas was attributed to above average precipitation and the cessation of domestic livestock grazing. Overall (tracked plus untracked areas), total cover increased on PCMS, but the proportion of annual cover also increased. Woody plant density decreased an average of 9% from 1985 to 1987. Long-term management of the soil and vegetative resources of PCMS are discussed.

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