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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Pest Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #303093

Research Project: ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT OF GRASSHOPPERS AND OTHER INSECT PESTS IN THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS

Location: Pest Management Research

Title: Evolution of plant materials for ecological restoration: insights from the applied and basic literature

Author
item Espeland, Erin
item Emery, Nancy - Purdue University
item Mercer, Kristin - Ohio University
item Woolbright, Scott - University Of Illinois
item Kettenring, Karin - Utah State University
item Gepts, Paul - University Of California
item Etterson, Julie - University Of Minnesota

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/9/2016
Publication Date: 7/1/2016
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/5713024
Citation: Espeland, E.K., Emery, N.C., Mercer, K.L., Woolbright, S.A., Kettenring, K.M., Gepts, P.L., Etterson, J.R. 2016. Evolution of plant materials for ecological restoration: insights from the applied and basic literature. Journal of Applied Ecology. 54(1):102-115. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12739.

Interpretive Summary: One of the goals of ecological restoration is to establish plants in degraded areas. Once we decide which species we need to plant, we must harvest them and plant them into prepared sites. This process is similar to that of agriculture. To increase the availability of native seed, native seed farms have become increasingly widespread and sophisticated. Because of the parallels between restoration and agriculture, we can use a combination of evolutionary and agricultural science to predict how plant characteristics may be altered in response to farming practices. We evaluate how practices within restoration can alter plant materials and highlight how traditional agriculture and evolutionary biology can provide guiding principles to ensure that we keep traits important for restoration success throughout the propagation process. Harvesting and propagation approaches that are sensitive to the pitfalls of native seed production are necessary to restore native plant communities that readily establish, persist over the long term, and support functioning ecosystems.

Technical Abstract: The goal of ecological restoration is to establish particular native taxa, communities or ecosystems in areas that have been degraded, either directly or indirectly, by anthropogenic forces. Revegetation as part of restoration requires identifying propagule sources, harvesting them, and planting into prepared sites— a sequence parallel to that of agriculture. To increase the availability of native seed, farms that propagate restoration materials have become increasingly widespread and sophisticated. Propagation protocols resemble the process of domestication for agriculture although some of the traits and objectives can be quite distinct from the domestication of crop plants. Because of the parallels between restoration and agriculture, we can use a combination of evolutionary and agricultural science to predict how plant characteristics may be altered in response to cultural practices. Here we evaluate how practices within restoration can alter plant materials and highlight how traditional agriculture and evolutionary biology can provide guiding principles to contend with this issue. Sampling and propagation approaches that are sensitive to the pitfalls of native seed production are necessary to restore native plant communities that readily establish, persist over the long term, and support functioning ecosystems.