Ecological Stability in the Sagebrush Steppe and Restoration Implications

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The highly seasonal nature of the sagebrush steppe imposes an ecological stability-disturbance gradient, where plants inhabiting protected sagebrush steppe are adapted to ecological stability and not to regular disturbances. Ecological stability is likely related to plant species in the sagebrush steppe having adapted to the soil microbial communities. Loss of native plant diversity in the sagebrush steppe via the irreparable conversion to annual exotic plant communities. Controlling invasives in the sagebrush steppe may indeed promote the abun-dance of cheatgrass and other invasive plants.

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Matt Lavin is a professor at Montana State University, Bozeman, Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology. He holds a B.S. and an M.S. from the University of Nevada-Reno in Biology and Botany, as well as a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Texas at Austin. Matt studies the effects of climate and disturbance on plant diversity in the sagebrush steppe of western North America and in seasonally dry Neotropical forests and woodlands. Besides he is also the curator of the MSU Herbarium.