Great Basin Naturalist


Soil physical and chemical properties were studied to identify habitat differences among 15 sagebrush dominated plant community types of the Great Basin. The sagebrush taxa studied followed an apparent gradient of increasing soil fertility, with Artemisia nova commonly occupying the lowest fertility sites. Sites of moderate soil fertility tended to support A. arbuscula, A. longiloba, and A. tridentata ssp. wyomingensis. Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridentata and A. tridentata ssp. vaseyana were commonly found on sites with the highest soil fertility levels as indicated by maximum organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus levels within such soils. Mollic epipedon depth, total depth, and water-holding capacity of the soil also increased as the dominant sagebrush taxon of a community type changed from A. nova to A. tridentata ssp. vaseyana. Data from this study provide information concerning soil relationships within relatively undisturbed rangeland communities. Such data are required if future soil sampling efforts within the Great Basin are to have a basis for comparison.