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Prairie restoration at the northern edge of the Great Plains can be frustrated by previously established non-native perennial grasses. We compared the emergence of a widely introduced grass, Agropyron cristatum, and a common native grass, Bouteloua gracilis, in a 4-year-old field experiment in which the Agropyron-dominated vegetation had either been left intact or treated annually with herbicide. This was done at two levels of water supply, reflecting conditions expected in wet and dry years, to examine the effects of among-year variability in precipitation. Water addition significantly increased the emergence of both surface-sown and buried (1 cm deep) seeds. Herbicide treatment of neighbors did not increase the...
Initially introduced to western United States to provide ecosystem services such as erosion control, Tamarix by the mid-1900s had became vilified as a profligate waster of water. This large shrub continues, today, to be indicted for various presumed environmental and economic costs, and millions of dollars are expended on its eradication. In this review, we examine the role of scientists in driving changes in perceptions of Tamarix from valuable import to vilified invader and (in some instances) back to a productive member of riparian plant communities. Scientists over the years have sustained a negative perception of Tamarix by, among other things, (1) citing outmoded sources; (2) inferring causation from correlative...
The USGS Great Lakes Science Center will use ScienceBase to manage information, including archival science records, select data sets, citations for possible dissemination and sharing via web feeds. Advancing scientific knowledge and providing scientific information for restoring, enhancing, managing, and protecting the living resources and their habitats in the Great Lakes basin ecosystem. More information available at: http://www.glsc.usgs.gov/
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Invasive plants are typically managed using top-down control techniques that focus on the removal of the target organism. Bottom-up control limits the resources available to the undesired species by manipulating disturbance, competition, and successional processes, and thus may prevent reinvasion. Tamarisk species (Tamarix sp.) have invaded riparian areas throughout western North America, resulting in expansive control efforts. A companion study has shown that a native competitor, Box elder (Acer negundo), is capable of outcompeting and killing established Tamarisk through light interception in canyons of Dinosaur National Monument (DNM), Colorado. The goal of this study was to determine the feasibility of using...
Tamarix spp. removal has been proposed to salvage water and allow native vegetation to recolonize western U.S. riparian corridors. We conducted wide-area studies on the Lower Colorado River to answer some of the scientific questions about Tamarix water use and the consequences of removal, combining ground surveys with remote sensing methods. Tamarix stands had moderate rates of evapotranspiration (ET), based on remote sensing estimates, averaging 1.1 m/yr, similar to rates determined for other locations on the river and other rivers. Leaf area index values were also moderate, and stands were relatively open, with areas of bare soil interspersed within stands. At three Tamarix sites in the Cibola National Wildlife...
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Invasion by the non-native tree Tamarix has led to implementation of restoration projects aimed at maintaining the ecological integrity of many riparian communities in the southwestern United States. These restoration efforts may include Tamarix removal, manipulation of hydrologic regimes, and active revegetation of native species. The goal of this study was to determine which site characteristics are correlated with restoration success, defined in terms of reductions of undesirable species such as Tamarix and establishment of desirable, native species. To accomplish this, vegetative and environmental data were collected at 28 sites in the southwestern United States where active revegetation was completed after...
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Establishment of native plant populations on disturbed roadsides was investigated at Bryce Canyon National Park (BCNP) in relation to several revegetation and seedbed preparation techniques. In 1994, the BCNP Rim Road (2,683?2,770 m elevation) was reconstructed resulting in a 23.8-ha roadside disturbance. Revegetation comparisons included the influence of fertilizer on plant establishment and development, the success of indigenous versus commercial seed, seedling response to microsites, methods of erosion control, and shrub transplant growth and survival. Plant density, cover, and biomass were measured 1, 2, and 4 years after revegetation implementation (1995?1998). Seeded native grass cover and density were the...
In some arid regions, rehabilitation of whole system N-fixation may be strongly facilitated by the recovery of populations of the lichen genus Collema. Identification of the limits to recovery of Collema in apparently suitable habitat should inform selection of rehabilitation techniques. We simultaneously tested the relative importance of three hypothetical limits to Collema recovery: active erosion, resource limitation, and propagule scarcity. We found that in our experimental system, active erosion had no effect on short-term establishment of Collema, whereas propagule addition did enhance recovery and microhabitat (a resource availability gradient) also exerted a strong influence. It is possible that attempts...
Soil microbial activity and soil nutrients were monitored on a revegetated coal surface mine in southwestern Wyoming from the initial planting in 1982 through 1987. Total soil nitrogen (N) and organic matter did not change during this period. However, despite no changes in available phosphorus (P) concentrations, the total P declined over 50% during the five-year period, with no apparent reduction in the loss rates. The greatest loss was in the bound inorganic P pool. Moisture appeared not to limit microbial mass-C. Microbial mass-C was higher under shrubs than in interspaces and increased with time. Total organic matter did not increase. Thus, the ratio of microbial mass-C to organic matter-C increased during the...
The indirect effects of native generalist insect herbivores on interactions between exotic and native grassland plants have received limited attention. Crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) is the most common exotic rangeland grass in western North America. Crested wheatgrass communities are resistant to colonization by native plant species and have strong competitive effects on native species, imposing problems for the restoration of native grasslands. Grasshoppers are generalist herbivores that are often abundant in Crested wheatgrass?dominated sites in the northern Great Plains. We conducted two experiments in a Crested wheatgrass?dominated grassland in western North Dakota to test the hypothesis that grasshopper...
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Current invasion ecology theory predicts that disturbance will stimulate invasion by exotic plant species. Cheatgrass or Downy brome (Bromus tectorum) was surveyed in three sites near Florence, Colorado, U.S.A., immediately following Tamarisk or Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) control and restoration activities that caused disturbance. Despite predictions to the contrary, neither mowing with heavy machinery nor tilling for seedbed preparation stimulated invasion, with a trend for the opposite pattern such that highest percent cover of B. tectorum was observed in the least disturbed transects. Aerial application of imazapyr for Tamarix spp. control caused mortality of nearly all B. tectorum and other understory plant species...
Throughout the world, the condition of many riparian ecosystems has declined due to numerous factors, including encroachment of non-native species. In the western United States, millions of dollars are spent annually to control invasions of Tamarix spp., introduced small trees or shrubs from Eurasia that have colonized bottomland ecosystems along many rivers. Resource managers seek to control Tamarix in attempts to meet various objectives, such as increasing water yield and improving wildlife habitat. Often, riparian restoration is an implicit goal, but there has been little emphasis on a process or principles to effectively plan restoration activities, and many Tamarix removal projects are unsuccessful at restoring...
Invasive annual grasses have become increasingly important components of desert vegetation in North America. They are especially problematic because they increase the extent, severity, and frequency of fire in desert shrublands that normally experience fire very rarely, or not at all. After fire, invasive grasses and forbs are often dominant and restoration methods are required to promote native plant recovery. Three treatments to control invasive annual grasses and forbs were implemented in the first 3 years following a fire in creosote bush scrub vegetation. Treatments included early season mechanical removal (raking) of all annuals, grass-specific herbicide (Fusilade II), and Fusilade II plus hand pulling of...
Declines in native plant and animal communities have prompted new interest in the restoration of aquatic and riparian ecosystems. Past restoration activities typically have been site specific, with little thought to processes operating at larger scales. A watershed analysis process developed in the Pacific Northwest identifies four operating scales useful in developing restoration priorities: region, basin, watershed, and specific site. Watershed analysis provides a template for restoration practitioners to use in prioritizing restoration activities. The template identifies seven key steps necessary to understand and develop restoration priorities: (1) characterization, (2) identification of key issues and questions,...
River systems around the world are subject to various perturbations, including the colonization and spread of non-native species in riparian zones. Riparian resource managers are commonly engaged in efforts to control problematic non-native species and restore native habitats. In western North America, small Eurasian trees or shrubs in the genus Tamarix occupy hundreds of thousands of hectares of riparian lands, and are the targets of substantial and costly control efforts and associated restoration activities. Still, significant information gaps exist regarding approaches used in control and restoration efforts and their effects on riparian ecosystems. In this special section of papers, eight articles address various...
Biological soil crusts (BSCs) are ubiquitous lichen?bryophyte microbial communities, which are critical structural and functional components of many ecosystems. However, BSCs are rarely addressed in the restoration literature. The purposes of this review were to examine the ecological roles BSCs play in succession models, the backbone of restoration theory, and to discuss the practical aspects of rehabilitating BSCs to disturbed ecosystems. Most evidence indicates that BSCs facilitate succession to later seres, suggesting that assisted recovery of BSCs could speed up succession. Because BSCs are ecosystem engineers in high abiotic stress systems, loss of BSCs may be synonymous with crossing degradation thresholds....
The ecological integrity of Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems in the Intermountain West (U.S.A.) has been diminished by synergistic relationships among human activities, spread of invasive plants, and altered disturbance regimes. An aggressive effort to restore Sagebrush habitats is necessary if we are to stabilize or improve current habitat trajectories and reverse declining population trends of dependent wildlife. Existing economic resources, technical impediments, and logistic difficulties limit our efforts to a fraction of the extensive area undergoing fragmentation, degradation, and loss. We prioritized landscapes for restoring Sagebrush habitats within the intermountain western region of the United States...
Restoration activity has exponentially increased across the Southwest since 1990. Over 37,000 records were compiled into the National River Restoration Science Synthesis (NRRSS) database to summarize restoration trends and assess project effectiveness. We analyzed data from 576 restoration projects in the Southwest (NRRSS-SW). More than 50% of projects were less than or equal to 3 km in length. The most common restoration project intent categories were riparian management, water quality management, in-stream habitat improvement, and flow modification. Common project activities were well matched to goals. Conservative estimates of total restoration costs exceeded $500 million. Most restoration dollars have been allocated...
Local populations of plants are likely to be better adapted to a site than populations from elsewhere. Thus, local seeds should yield higher survival in restoration attempts than commercial seed stocks. We compared seedling survival from locally and commercially obtained seeds of seven species, Pseudoroegneria spicata (bluebunch wheatgrass), Elymus elymoides (squirreltail), Pascopyrum smithii (western wheatgrass), Stipa hymenoides (Indian ricegrass), Stipa comata (needle-and-thread), Chrysothamnus nauseosus (rubber rabbitbrush) and Ephedra nevadensis (Mormon tea) over three years on two sites in Utah (Dugway and Tintic) that were dominated by the introduced annual Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass). At the Dugway site...
Rather than simply enhancing invasion risk, climate change may also reduce invasive plant competitiveness if conditions become climatically unsuitable. Using bioclimatic envelope modeling, we show that climate change could result in both range expansion and contraction for five widespread and dominant invasive plants in the western United States. Yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) and tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) are likely to expand with climate change. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and spotted knapweed (Centaurea biebersteinii) are likely to shift in range, leading to both expansion and contraction. Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) is likely to contract. The retreat of once-intractable invasive species could...


map background search result map search result map Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) Success of Active Revegetation after Tamarix Removal in Riparian Ecosystems of the Southwestern United States: A Quantitative Assessment of Past Restoration Projects Revegetation Methods for High-Elevation Roadsides at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah First-Year Responses of Cheatgrass Following Tamarix spp. Control and Restoration-Related Disturbances Habitat Overlap and Facilitation in Tamarisk and Box Elder Stands: Implications for Tamarisk Control Using Native Plants Revegetation Methods for High-Elevation Roadsides at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah Habitat Overlap and Facilitation in Tamarisk and Box Elder Stands: Implications for Tamarisk Control Using Native Plants First-Year Responses of Cheatgrass Following Tamarix spp. Control and Restoration-Related Disturbances Success of Active Revegetation after Tamarix Removal in Riparian Ecosystems of the Southwestern United States: A Quantitative Assessment of Past Restoration Projects