At Rush Valley, west of Utah Lake, researchers began a large-scale study in 2012 to examine the interactions between fire, plant invasions, small mammals, and precipitation. This sagebrush-dominated site has extensive biological soil crusts. After the fire, burned areas were invaded first by halogeton, a noxious weed, and then by cheatgrass. These aerial panoramas show differences in treatments in three blocks.
Lytle Ranch is a 600-acre preserve managed by Brigham Young University in the northeast corner of the Mojave Desert. It is at the boundary between Mojave, Great Basin, and Colorado Plateau deserts. Beaver Dam Wash provides some of the only perennial water in the region. Researchers here are studying fire, small mammals, plants, precipitation, and insects.