Conclusion developing and implementing brush and weed management strategies Chapter uri icon


  • With some exceptions, most of the plant species present on rangelands, even those viewed as weeds or brush, have potential value. However, many species of forbs, woody plants, and succulents are exceedingly aggressive and interfere with the goals and objectives of rangeland resource managers. Many attempts to control or manage brush and weeds on rangelands have been considered failures for a variety of reasons, but often because the user did not understand the cause of the problem and assumed a single treatment would be the solution. Many technological advances have been made in the arsenal of brush and weed management strategies, but that being said, this technology must be used following an organized plan or procedure in which a variety of brush or weed control strategies are coordinated by the user in an orderly fashion to result in a long-term, sustainable solution to the prob-lem. Rangeland resource managers must be knowledgeable of the biology and ecology of their problem species, base their plant management strategies on ecologically sound principles, and recognize that proper livestock grazing management is critical to the long-term success of brush and weed control treatments. A planning procedure has been presented to aid rangeland resource managers in developing successful, long-term brush or weed management systems or strategies. The first step in this planning process is to clearly identify the overall goal or objective for the ranch or management unit being considered. Flexibility, relative to this objective, should be maintained because the economic picture may change or it may be realized later in the planning or monitoring process that the original objective is not feasible because of inherent characteristics of the resources. The second step in the planning process is to conduct a thorough inventory of the resources present on the ranch or management unit. This procedure documents the nature and characteristics of the brush and weed problems, the current health and carrying capacity of the rangeland, and the location of improvements such as fences, water, etc. If the inventory reveals that the original objective is feasible and that brush or weed management is needed to achieve that objective, then the next phase of the planning process is to select alternative initial (reclamation) and maintenance (follow-up) treatments for managing the brush or weed infestations identified as target species during the resource inventory. The habitat needs of important wildlife species should be carefully considered during this step in the planning process. Grazing management must be planned concomitant with the selection of alternative brush /weed management strategies in order to provide required pre-treatment and/or post-treatment grazing deferments. All treatments must be followed by proper grazing management in order to realize their maximum potential relative to improving the health of the rangeland, livestock performance, and wildlife production. Economic criteria, such as partial budgeting, net present value, internal rate of return, etc. are then utilized to select treatments which would be most profitable and least risky, and those that are next best that could be used in a contingency plan. After this planning exercise is completed, the brush or weed management and grazing management plan must be properly executed or implemented according to the specifications, to the delineated target areas, and according to the planned schedule. The final phase is to monitor the results so that the rangeland resource manager can evaluate progress and assess the effectiveness of the strategies and the overall integrated brush or weed management system. Monitoring provides feedback that may be the basis for making adjustments in the original plan of action, and in some cases in the original objective. The records compiled during the monitoring process can be used in an economic analysis at the end of the planning horizon to assess whether the management plan has met the expected economic outcome. 2004 by Texas A&M University Press. All Rights Reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Ueckert, D. N., & Hamilton, W. T.

Book Title

  • Brush Management: Past, Present, Future

publication date

  • January 2004