Contrasting long-term survival of two outplanted Mojave Desert perennials for post-fire revegetation

Arid Land Research and Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

Post-fire recovery of arid shrublands is typically slow, and planting greenhouse-raised seedlings may be a means of jump-starting this process. Recovery can be further accelerated by understanding the factors controlling post-planting survival. In fall 2007 and 2009, we outplanted seedlings of two contrasting native evergreen shrubs—fast-growing Nevada jointfir and slow-growing blackbrush—across five burned sites in the Mojave Desert. To increase soil moisture and optimize seedling survival, we experimentally applied and evaluated soil amendments and supplemental watering. We also evaluated two herbicides that reduce competitive invasive annual grasses and two types of herbivore protection. Survival of jointfir outplanted in 2007 was 61% after 43 months, and site largely influenced survival, while herbicide containing imazapic applied more than one year after outplanting reduced survival. Reduced survival of jointfir outplanted in 2009 coincided with delayed seasonal precipitation that intensified foliar damage by small mammals. In contrast, blackbrush survival was 4% after 43 months, and was influenced by site, type of herbivore protection, and greenhouse during the 2007 outplanting, and soil amendment during 2009. Counter to expectations, we found that supplemental watering and soil amendments did not influence long-term survival of either blackbrush or jointfir. Shrub species with rapid growth rates and broad environmental tolerances, such as jointfir, make ideal candidates for outplanting, provided that seedlings are protected from herbivores. Re-introduction of species with slow growth rates and narrow environmental tolerances, such as blackbrush, requires careful consideration to optimize pre- and post-planting conditions.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Contrasting long-term survival of two outplanted Mojave Desert perennials for post-fire revegetation
Series title Arid Land Research and Management
DOI 10.1080/15324982.2014.901994
Volume 29
Issue 1
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Publisher location London
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 15 p.
First page 110
Last page 124
Country United States
Other Geospatial Mojave Desert
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N