The IFAFS Project
The Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems, or IFAFS, is a research project identifying concepts and management strategies to control the spreading dominance of cheatgrass and other weeds in the Great Basin. The scientists want to restore native species and increase biodiversity on Great Basin rangelands. The scientists you see spotlighted throughout this website are all part of the IFAFS project.
The IFAFS project is unique. Traditional scientific experiments are often limited to a few years at a single site. In contrast, the IFAFS project is a multi-state and agency cooperative effort with the same experiments replicated at different locations in the Great Basin over several years. Each state (Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Nevada) has two study sites located in sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) communities.
A variety of experiments are being implemented at each site that involve the following:
- A study to determine which species do the best job at competing with invasive weeds.
- What role granivores, or seed-eaters, play in native plant reproduction and restoration.
- How adding sugar to the soil might shift the competitive balance toward native plants.
- The effect that weed invasion has on soil chemistry and microbial life.
- Treatments that just may help restore desirable plants in cheatgrass dominated rangeland.
Grazing domestic sheep, goats, and cattle in the Great Basin has had a disputed past. Often, when fingers start pointing to how weeds got started, many are aimed at grazers.
Scientists now are looking to prescribed grazing as a method of controlling weeds. Research is being done on how to best use animals to eat more weeds and fewer of the more sensitive plant species. Now that's smart thinking!
"I'm your worst nightmare!"
That's what this hound says to nasty knapweed invaders. And it may not be that far from the truth. She is a professionally trained hound with a mission to destroy...or at least sniff out knapweed plants. You've got to see this one to believe it!
-Soil study: Bob Blank.
-Cows: Public domain.
-Knapweed Nightmare: Kim Goodwin. Montana State University.