Some Impacts of 2, 4, 5-T on a mesquite duneland ecosystem in southern New Mexico: A synthesis

TitleSome Impacts of 2, 4, 5-T on a mesquite duneland ecosystem in southern New Mexico: A synthesis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1986
AuthorsGibbens, Robert P., Herbel C.H., Morton H.L., Lindemann W.C., Ryder-White J.A., Richman D., Huddleston E.W., Conley W.H., Davis C.A., Reitzel J.A., Anderson D.M., Guiao A.
JournalJournal of Range Management
Date PublishedJuly 1, 1986

Two aerial applications of 2,4,5-T [(2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy) acetic acid] were applied to 3,634 ha of mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa Torr. var. glandulosa) dunelands in southern New Mexico. Herbicide residuals; herbaceous plant production; soil microorganisms; insect, small mammal, and bird populations; cattle weights; travel; time budgets; and diets were studied on the treated area and an adjacent, untreated area. Stem kill of mesquite ranged from 17 to 66%. Herbicide residuals in soils and plant tissue on the treated area dissipated within a single season. Herbaceous plant production was measured for 5 years on a small area sprayed in 3 consecutive years and on untreated rangeland. Production was greater on the sprayed than on the unsprayed area for the first 3 years and was about the same on both areas for the next 2 years. Microbial populations were not numerically different between treatments but dehydrogenase activity and C02 evolution were greater in dunal than interdunal soils. Numbers of tenebrionid beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) did not differ between treatments. More mesquite leaf tiers (Tetralopha euphemella) were found on the sprayed area than on the untreated area. Population statistics for small mammals were similar on both treatments. More bird species were found on untreated than on sprayed areas. Cattle weights, travel, and time budgets did not differ between treatments and there were only minor differences between treatments in cattle diet quality. The sprayed area supported over twice as many A UM's of grazing as the untreated area in the first 3 post treatment years. In the second post-treatment year, cattle liveweight produced was 2.9 and 1.5 kg/ha on the sprayed and untreated areas, respectively. Overall, the 2,4,5-T treatment caused relatively minor perturbations in measured ecosystem components.