Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/24/2010
Publication Date: 2/12/2011
Citation: Clements, C.D., Harmon, D.N., Weltz, M.A. 2011. Seedlings: from seed to establishment [abstract]. Society for Range Management. 64:57.
Technical Abstract: The necessity of resource managers to restore or rehabilitate rangelands throughout the Intermountain West is at an all-time high. With each passing year more and more hectares are being converted from plant communities dominated by native perennial bunchgrasses, forbs and shrubs to plant communities dominated by exotic and highly invasive species such as cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum). The objective of this paper is to describe on-the-ground lessons learned. Seedling emergence, mortality and establishment will be discussed in detail. We will present data on the importance of proper timing of seed sowing and proper use of plant materials (e.g. cheatgrass densities were significantly decreased by perennial grass establishment when seeding the first fall following the wildfire versus seeding the second year following the wildfire and were only observed for one species comparing multiple species seeded). Seed predation is a reality; we will also present data on seed and seedling predation (e.g. antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) seed and seedling predation can significantly affect restoration efforts). We will discuss different weed control practices (herbicide and mechanical) and their applications in restoration/rehabilitation efforts. We will present data on our techniques of seeding plots and observing randomly selected, but fixed over-time quadrats monthly, from the time of seeding through five years after the seeding. For example, we seed in the months of September and October, then observe these quadrats for seed predation, snow cover, germination (e.g. below ground germination of antelope bitterbrush is very high by December/January), emergence (e.g. antelope bitterbrush emergence early to mid March), mortality (e.g. seedling mortality and predation can occur as early as March/April), and recruitment into the environment. We also monitor the periodicity of precipitation as it relates to seedling survival. The majority of the environments we work in receive less than 23 cm (9 inches) of annual precipitation, mostly occurring in winter months; we will discuss our experiences of success and failures as it relates to on-the-ground realities that occur throughout the various plant communities.