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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Vance, Nan [1].

Seed and germinant evaluation of native herbs for postfire rehabilitation in the eastern Oregon Cascades.

In coniferous forests of the montane west, plant communities can be drastically affected by severe wildfires. Although postfire rehabilitation assumes native plants play a role in recovery; that assumption may not be met without some intervention. Strategies that include sowing native plant seed must weigh few species that successfully compete, against many, diverse species that may not ensure successful establishment. However, for any species, efficacy of rehabilitation with native species should consider seed biology and ecology from seed maturity on the plant, through germination in the soil and early growth. This study sought to reduce uncertainty by examining relevant seed and seedling attributes of 5 grasses and 13 forbs for potential use in a seeding program. Seeds were collected from proximate areas in a dry ponderosa pine/bitterbrush/bunch grass plant community on the eastern flank of the Oregon Cascades. Filled-seed rate, viability, moisture content, and germination were calculated in the laboratory. Seeds of 18 species sown on 20, 1m2 plots, over a 3-mile transect within the boundary of a recent wildfire were visited every 3-4 weeks from February through June, at which time seedlings were senescing. Seed germination, seedling growth and survival data were collected along with microsite and other site data. Biological seed attributes such as seed size, abundance, filled-seed rates, and predation affected seed yield. However, only seed size was a predictor of field germination rate and survival. The TZ test of seed viability was not a predictor of field germination or survival. The within-species variation in germination reflected the variation in environmental conditions among the plots. Canopy cover, soil moisture and temperature, predation, and invasive grass competition appeared to have the strongest influence on germination and seedling survival. The study demonstrates the importance of field testing in developing predictive models for native plant establishment.

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1 - PNW Research Station, 3200 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, Oregon, 97331, USA

native plant
seed traits

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 27
Location: 211/SUB
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2008
Time: 4:30 PM
Number: 27004
Abstract ID:687

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