Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Wildland Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Range Science (Ecology)

Committee Chair(s)

Neil E. West


Neil E. West


The purpose of this study was to provide basic ecological information on an important but little studied major vegetation type through autecological investigations of the dominant species. Data include climate and soils where this species occurs, root distribution, phenology and growth, seed germination requirements and seedling survival. Percent ground cover provided by blackbrush and other dominant plants as well as the composition of herbaceous understory vegetation was presented. Leaf and stem anatomy of blackbrush revealed features typical of desert shrub species with stem splitting appearing to be a characteristic of this species.

Blackbrush is characterized as a poor forage species of low palatability. Nutrient content analysis provided data on ether extract, carotene, phosphorus, acid detergent fiber, crude protein, and lignin. Nutrient deficiencies occur during the winter when blackbrush ranges are grazed by domestic livestock.

Brush beating or same similar method which will remove the old woody material from the plants was proposed as a method of increasing the forage quality without changing the entire community as is done with burning.




This work made publicly available electronically on February 4, 2013.