Eastern red cedar has been able to invade Nebraska grasslands, because of conflicting policy positions, according new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Caleb Roberts, an agronomy and horticulture graduate student, says the out-of-control growth of red cedar is well known.
He says research shows conservation management plans need to align to fight its spread.
“[Natural resources agencies] encourage planting, regardless of where you were, and they facilitated that. They’d actually give funds and seedlings,” Roberts tells Nebraska Radio Network. “At the same time, they’d work to remove the cedar trees. So they’re doing two things at the same time.”
Roberts says removing eastern red cedars completely is the best way to keep them from spreading.
“Eastern red cedar is a huge problem for having enough forage on the ground for your cattle,” he says. “When an agency says ‘planting them is good,’ also ‘planting them is bad,’ then there’s conflict. That needs to be addressed.”
In addition to harming grazing land, the cedars remove wildlife habitat and increase the risk of wildfires.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:32]