Millions of hectares of sagebrush/bunchgrass rangeland in the western United States are undergoing type conversion to systems dominated by introduced annual grasses that proliferate after wildfire. Postfire rehabilitation and restoration are problematic in these complex systems, but restoration difficulties are exacerbated by high annual and seasonal variability in precipitation and persistent drought. Successful restoration of compositional, structural, and functional diversity in these weather-limited systems may require relatively long-term, iterative management that incorporates flexibility in the definition of the aspirational/goal state. Restoration planning should also explicitly accommodate a lack of predictability of individual-year management results and expectations of only partial success of individual-year management treatments. This planning environment may require rapid assessment and contingency planning in the short term but also long-term persistence to overcome expected failures and setbacks. New methodologies are needed to increase biodiversity without damaging previously established plants, and new metrics need to be developed to monitor successional trajectories between initial and multiple-potential goal states.
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