Adaptive restoration of river terrace vegetation through iterative experiments

Natural Areas Journal
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Abstract

Restoration projects can involve a high degree of uncertainty and risk, which can ultimately result in failure. An adaptive restoration approach can reduce uncertainty through controlled, replicated experiments designed to test specific hypotheses and alternative management approaches. Key components of adaptive restoration include willingness of project managers to accept the risk inherent in experimentation, interest of researchers, availability of funding for experimentation and monitoring, and ability to restore sites as iterative experiments where results from early efforts can inform the design of later phases. This paper highlights an ongoing adaptive restoration project at Zion National Park (ZNP), aimed at reducing the cover of exotic annual Bromus on riparian terraces, and revegetating these areas with native plant species. Rather than using a trial-and-error approach, ZNP staff partnered with academic, government, and private-sector collaborators to conduct small-scale experiments to explicitly address uncertainties concerning biomass removal of annual bromes, herbicide application rates and timing, and effective seeding methods for native species. Adaptive restoration has succeeded at ZNP because managers accept the risk inherent in experimentation and ZNP personnel are committed to continue these projects over a several-year period. Techniques that result in exotic annual Bromus removal and restoration of native plant species at ZNP can be used as a starting point for adaptive restoration projects elsewhere in the region.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Adaptive restoration of river terrace vegetation through iterative experiments
Series title Natural Areas Journal
DOI 10.3375/043.034.0410
Volume 34
Issue 4
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Natural Areas Association
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 475
Last page 487
Country United States
State Utah
Other Geospatial Zion National Park
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N