By James A. Young
This can be a clinical and ancient account of the cheatgrass invasion. it's a learn of the plant which has replaced the ecology of thousands of acres of western rangeland.
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Additional info for Cheatgrass: Fire and Forage on the Range
The early Holocene assemblages of plants were descendants of those that remained after the wild climatic fluctuations of the Pleistocene. The fiveneedle pines that now grow near timberline on the highest mountains in the Great Basin, for example, grew during the Pleistocene glacial maxima on the beaches of the pluvial lakes. The vast and rapid plant migrations forced by the fluctuations in climate during and after the close of the Pleistocene opened plant communities to invasion by other species.
It should be no surprise that seeds of species that are considered weeds occurred together with the seeds of cultivated crops. Plants that could mimic the cultural requirements of the cereal grains were preadapted to be weeds in the fields of the earliest agriculturalists. They germinated at the same time as the cereal grains that were intentionally sown, completed their life cycle in the same amount of time, and produced seeds that were difficult to separate from the crop seeds. Wheat started as wild einkorn types and evolved through hybridization and polyploidy to the emmer wheats and then the modern bread wheats.
The other leaf type, smaller and more moisture efficient, remains on the plant for several seasons. Sagebrush blooms in the fall at the end of the summer drought, when the flowering stalks are extremely efficient at photosynthesis. Seedlings can produce seeds in their second year and continue to flower when they are more than a century old, when most of their cambium has been destroyed and their stems recline on the ground as twisted wrecks of weathered wood. Big sagebrush plants produce many more seeds each year than are necessary to maintain a stand at the density a particular site is capable of supporting.