Using native annual plants to suppress weedy invasive species in post-fire habitats

Herron, Christopher M., author
Paschke, Mark W., advisor
Rocca, Monique E., committee member
Brown, Cynthia Stokes, committee member
Meiman, Paul J., committee member
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Increasing fire frequencies and uncharacteristic severe fires have created a need for improved restoration methods across rangelands in western North America. Traditional restoration seed mixtures of perennial mid- to late-seral plant species may not be suitable for intensely burned sites that have been returned to an early-seral condition. Under such conditions native annual plant species are likely to be more successful at competing with exotic annual plant species such as Bromus tectorum L. We used a field study in Colorado and Idaho, USA to test the hypothesis that native annual plant species are better suited to post-fire restoration efforts compared to perennial plant species that are commonly used in traditional seed mixtures. Replicated test plots at four post-fire sites were assigned one of four treatments (1) native annual seed mixture, (2) standard perennial seed mixture, (3) combination of annual and perennial, and (4) an unseeded control. Results suggest that there is potential for native annual plant species to be effective competitors with weedy exotic species in post-fire restoration scenarios.
Department Head: Michael J. Manfredo.
2010 Summer.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 26-31).
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