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RMRS-GTR-185: Vegetation and soil restoration on highly impacted campsites in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon


Cole, David N.; Spildie, David R. 2007. Vegetation and soil restoration on highly impacted campsites in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-185. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 26 p.

We assessed the effectiveness of planting techniques (seeding and transplanting) and restoration treatments designed to improve the physical, biological, and chemical properties of soils and ameliorate microclimatic conditions on six closed campsites in subalpine forests. Restoration treatments included scarification, soil amendment with organic matter, compost and soil inoculum, and application of a mulch blanket. Campsite closure, scarification, planting, and soil amendments were successful in increasing recovery rates. The mulch blanket had no effect on recovery. 10 years after campsite closure, vegetation cover was still diminished in comparison to reference conditions on nearby undisturbed sites. Particularly problematic was reestablishment of the low-growing shrub species (particularly Vaccinium scoparium and Phyllodoce empetriformis) that are the most abundant groundcover species in these forests. These species seldom establish from seed. Moreover, survivorship and growth rates are unusually low for transplants. Our results show the relative ease of establishing various species and growth forms in these forests, as well as which species and growth forms respond best to the applied treatments. Results reinforce the importance of avoiding impacts in the first place, the lengthy recovery periods required in these ecosystems, and the intensive restoration efforts needed to speed recovery.

Keywords: compost, mulch, recreation impact, scarification, seeding, soil amendments, transplanting


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Title: RMRS-GTR-185: Vegetation and soil restoration on highly impacted campsites in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon
Electronic Publish Date: February 3, 2007
Expires: Indefinite
Last Update:
February 3, 2007

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