Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) habitat within the Idaho Army National Guard Orchard Training Area in southwestern Idaho. The purpose of this study was to determine the short-term (1a??2 years) influence of tank tracks on vegetation and microphytic crusts in shrubsteppe habitat. The two types of tank tracks studied were divots (area where one track has been stopped or slowed to make a sharp turn) and straight-line tracks. Divots generally had a stronger influence on vegetation and microphytic crusts than did straight-line tracks. Tank tracks increased cover of bare ground, litter, and exotic annuals, and reduced cover of vegetation, perennial native grasses, sagebrush, and microphytic crusts. Increased bare ground and reduced cover of vegetation and microphytic crusts caused by tank tracks increase the potential for soil erosion and may reduce ecosystem productivity. Reduced sagebrush cover caused by tank tracks may reduce habitat quality for rodents. Tank tracks may also facilitate the invasion of exotic annuals into sagebrush habitat, increasing the potential for wildfire and subsequent habitat degradation. Thus, creation of divots and movement through sagebrush habitat by tanks should be minimized.
Additional publication details
Short-term influence of tank tracks on vegetation and microphytic crusts in shrubsteppe habitat