Location: Great Basin Rangelands Research2011 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The University of Nevada at Reno is undertaking a cooperative project with the Agricultural Research Service and to investigate (1) the ability of key Great Basin native annual species to compete with cheatgrass as well as (2) their ability to facilitate the establishment of Great Basin native perennial bunchgrasses. The ultimate goal of this project is to assess the suitability of key Great Basin native annual species for use in restoration seedings.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
The University of Nevada, Reno will assist in developing, implementing, and analyzing experiments to assess the ability of Great Basin native forb species to compete with cheatgrass and facilitate establishment of native perennial grasses. This will include collaborating with ARS on greenhouse and field experiments, as well as the writing of scientific manuscripts.
3. Progress Report
This research is in support of Objective 2 of the in-house project, “Devise management guidelines, technologies, and practices for conserving and restoring Great Basin rangelands”. The goals of this work are to investigate (1) the potential for Great Basin native annual forbs to effectively compete with Bromus tectorum and facilitate the establishment success of native perennial grasses (2) the germination ecology of key Great Basin native annual forbs. The ultimate goal of this work is to determine whether it would be useful to include native annuals in postfire rehabilitation seed mixes. This aspect of the research is being conducted in combination with University Nevada, Reno (UNR). During this FY, results from two greenhouse experiments using a hybrid additive/replacement design to look at competition of the two native species with Bromus tectorum and establishment of Elymus multisetus with native annual forbs, with B. tectorum, and with annual forb-B. tectorum mix are being written up for a manuscript. Growing with competitors decreased the size of E. multisetus, however the largest decrease in size was found when grown with B. tectorum and Amsinckia tesselata. In contrast, E. multisetus grew best with Mentzelia veatchiana. When in competition with B. tectorum, E. multisetus performed best when M. veatchiana was also present. These results support the idea that the presence of certain native annual forbs can enhance the establishment of E. multisetus in B. tectorum invaded rangelands. Results from this study also indicated that both native annual forbs examined are negatively impacted by growth with B. tectorum, but M. veatchiana was more impacted than A. tesselata. We also finished a field experiment, with 240 small plots planted with combinations of Amsinckia intermedia, Amsinckia tesselata, Blepharipappus scaber, Descurainia pinnata, Mentzelia veatchiana, and Bromus tectorum. The experiment examined the performance of B. tectorum or E. multisetus target plants in annual native forb monocultures, B. tectorum monoculture, or a mixture of annual native forbs and B. tectorum. We collected data on density of natives and B. tectorum over time as well as biomass and reproductive output of E. multisetus and B. tectorum target plants. The collaboration with UNR has involved extensive meetings with collaborators, who are all co-located with our ARS unit.