TitleRestoring Biodiversity In The Shrub-Steppe And Strategies To Increase Regulatory Recognition Of Tribally Significant Species
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsLink, SO, Cruz, RO, Downs, JL, Harper, B
JournalA View from Northwestern North America

Restoring full biodiversity to disturbed areas in semi-arid shrub-steppe is diffi cult. Because many species have ethnobotanical uses, reestablishing diverse plant communities is an important goal. We planted and seeded multiple species in disturbed areas in mid-elevation silt loam and in high elevation lithosol at the USDOE Hanford Site (Fitzner-Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve) to increase biodiversity. We collected seed of 30 species for greenhouse germination and 31 species for fi eld seeding tests. In the greenhouse, maximal germination was 78.4 percent for Nestotus stenophyllus with no germination for fi ve species. Initial monitoring results showed that of 11 species seeded in silt loam, establishment ranged from zero percent for Calochortus macrocarpus to 5.4 percent for Chaenactis douglasii. Establishment of Washington state sensitive Erigeron piperianus was 0.085 percent. In lithosols, 16 species were seeded with establishment ranging from zero percent for 13 species to 0.67 percent for state watch-list Balsamorhiza rosea. In silt loam, seedlings of six species were planted with survivorship ranging from 31 percent for Achnatherum thurberianum to 92 percent for Lupinus leucophyllus. Survivorship of planted Erigeron piperianus seedlings was 90 percent. In lithosols, 14 species were planted with survivorship ranging from zero percent for three species to 44 percent for Balsamorhiza rosea seedlings and 87 percent for Salvia dorrii. Restoring high biodiversity to disturbed sites appears feasible, but species were highly variable in establishment and survival. Planting seedlings was more successful than seeding species. Using this information, restoration strategies can be optimized for success and for tribal importance