Submitted to: Invasive Plant Science and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/20/2008
Publication Date: 3/1/2009
Citation: Sheley, R.L., James, J.J., Bard, E. 2009. Augmentative restoration: repairing damaged ecological processes during restoration of heterogeneous environments. Journal of Invasive Plant Science and Management. 2009 2:10-21. Interpretive Summary: We develop and test a novel restoration strategy, termed Augmentative Restoration, to improve restoration approaches of heterogeneous wildland systems. We hypothesized that using Augmentative Restoration, which enhances site-specific ecological processes occurring at sufficient levels by selectively augmenting ecological processes that are damaged, would result in greater seedling establishment than traditional restoration approaches. In 2 of the 3 sites, using Augmentative Restoration to guide our management approaches improved our decision as to the treatment combinations that would maximize seedling establishment. Augmentative Restoration can improve decision making in a range of restoration settings and has the economic and ecological advantage of lower management inputs.
Technical Abstract: Heterogeneity in disturbance regimes, propagule pools, and factors affecting plant performance are a ubiquitous feature of wildlands. We tested a conceptual framework, termed augmentative restoration, to improve restoration approaches and succession management of heterogeneous wildland systems. This framework was tested at three sites in an ephemeral wetland dominated by invasive plants that had varying levels of disturbance, remnant native plants, and water availability. Our hypotheses were 1) seeding combined with watering would augment meadow vole disturbance (Site 1) to increase desired species composition, 2) shallow tilling combined with seeding would augment mesic soils (Site 2) to increase desired species composition, 3) shallow tilling combined with watering would augment remnant native species (Site 3) to increase desired species composition. Shallow tilling, watering, and seeding were applied in a factorial arrangement at all three sites. These eight treatment combinations were applied in a split-plot design with four replications to generate 32 whole plots (2m2). Two, 4-D was applied on half of each whole plot. In two of the three sites, using augmentative restoration to guide our management approaches improved our decision as to the treatment combinations that would maximize seedling establishment. Selectively augmenting successional processes that remain intact by repairing or replacing processes occurring at inadequate levels can advance successional management theory and provide a refined process-based theory for restoration across heterogeneous landscapes. Besided the clear economic advantages of lower management inputs associated with augmentative restoration, avoiding unnecessary management inputs has the additional advantage of minimizing unintended negative impacts on ecosystem processes.