Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research2012 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Techniques for the revegetation of former agricultural lands will become more important as water rights are transferred from agriculture to other uses in the arid western U.S. The US Forest Service has acquired property with abandoned fields at Rosaschi Ranch on the East Walker River in the southern Great Basin. We will conduct factorial experiments testing the roles of (1) first-year irrigation, (2) seed mix functional diversity, and (3) alternative site preparation techniques in the establishment of native species on these abandoned agricultural fields. The experiments will take place over two years, and data collection will occur during years two through four of the project. Subsequently, a full-scale restoration plan for Rosaschi Ranch will be completed, incorporating applied research to maximize restoration success.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
This project will use experimental restoration projects deployed in two initial years and monitored in years two through four to guide restoration planning and implementation on all bare agricultural fields at Rosaschi Ranch. These experimental projects will result in demonstration plots that could be used to: 1) illustrate the effectiveness of different seeding techniques and seed mixes; 2) ask research questions that will inform future efforts to restore agriculture lands; and 3) build support for the project by demonstrating success. Rigorous analysis of results from these experimental projects will allow for the design of a restoration plan for Rosaschi Ranch that will be successful over the long term. Research plots will examine major factors in a large-scale experimental design, and additional factors in a small-scale experimental design.
3. Progress Report:
This research supports object 1: Identify and characterize biotic and abiotic conditions and processes that affect plant community factors and ecosystem dynamics on healthy and degraded rangelands to improve the ability to predict how rangelands will respond to changing environmental conditions and alternative management practices. Specifically Sub-objective 1.1: Determine how land management history, the reproductive ecology of invasive annuals, and biotic interactions affect the structure and function of selected Great Basin ecosystems. The project is in its fourth and final year of data analysis, report and manuscript preparation. Collaborators on the project include USDI FWS, USDA NRCS, USDA Forest Service RMRS, USDA Forest Service, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (Memorandum of Understanding #08-IA-11041701-065). All collaborators attended a meeting in Carson City, Nevada in October 2011, where the USDA ARS and USFS RMRS presented their preliminary restoration guidelines report. A final meeting was held in Carson City March 1, 2012 where all collaborators agreed on a spatially explicit phased restoration plan for the uplands. April 1, 2012 the USDA ARS and USFS RMRS submitted the final restoration plan to all the collaborators. This plan represents the transfer of restoration technology to the Forest Service management unit of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. A manuscript is in preparation detailing the experimental results. The experimental results will be presented at the Ecological Society of America 97th annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, May 5-10, 2012.