Submitted to: Environmental Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2009
Publication Date: 1/24/2010
Citation: Caesar, A.J., Caesar, T., Sainju, U.M. 2010. The plant pathology of native plant restoration. Environmental Research. 4(3/4): 403-414.
Interpretive Summary: For the restoration of native species following the biological control of exotic invasive, herbaceous perennial weeds ,the potential application of some important tenets of agronomy such as using plant nutrients to aid establishment of grasses (which would functionally emulate rotations) and consideration of any legacy inoculum loads of any soilborne plant pathogens involved in the successful biological are discussed. The need for the application of Koch’s postulates and the identification, host range and inoculum quantification of plant pathogens affecting the establishment of native forbs is emphasized as the basis for improved management of successful native plant restoration. The relative importance and impact of mycorhizae versus plant pathogens is also considered.
Technical Abstract: Restoration of ecologically degraded sites will benefit from the convergence of knowledge drawn from such disparate and often compartmentalized (and heretofore not widely considered) areas of research as soil microbial ecology, plant pathology and agronomy. Restoration following biological control will be discussed to highlight issues that we regard as more widely applicable to general restoration science and ecology. A main focal point of future restoration work in natural areas will be sites that were infested with exotic invasive plants. Invasive plant species has been shown cause soil microbial communities that significantly differ from those of prominent native species in the same habitat. These changes are further compounded by the effects on the microbial communities of control measures applied to large scale, heavy infestation of invasive species. Greater understanding of the effects of such an altered soil microbial ecology on the ability to establish or reestablish native forbs will be drawn from working within the intersection of ecological restoration science soil microbiology, plant pathology, and agronomy. The necessity of isolating, culturing and testing the effects of key members of the soil and rhizosphere microflora on native forbs and grasses intended for use as restoration species will be discussed. The importance of applying knowledge of such soil quality factors as soil aggregating fungi and bacteria will also be emphasized. This review is intended to develop a new perspective that the authors hope will provoke discussion of how multidisciplinary work can aid native species restoration.