The consequences of trampling disturbance in two vegetation types at the Wyoming Nature Conservancy’s Sweetwater River Project Area

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title

Wilderness science in a time of change conference– Volume 5

Publication Date





The consequences of human trampling disturbance on two codominant vegetation types at the Wyoming Nature Conservancy’s Sweetwater Preserve were examined. Small trampling lanes (1.5m x 0.5m) were established in both vegetation types and trampling treatments ranging from 0 to 800 passes were applied. Artemisia (Sagebrush) vegetation type was more sensitive to initial trampling disturbance than the Equisetum (Smooth scouring rush) community. After one year, however, both communities closely resembled predisturbance conditions, in terms of relative cover, relative height and percent bare ground. These results suggest that these vegetation types could withstand a moderate amount of visitor use without extensive degradation, although it would be prudent to continue monitoring conditions and regulating use levels to ensure that impacts do not proliferate.

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