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Conservation assessment for the autumn willow in the Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota and Wyoming


Hornbeck, J. Hope; Sieg, Carolyn Hull; Reyher, Deanna J. 2003. Conservation assessment for the autumn willow in the Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota and Wyoming. Custer, SD: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, Black Hills National Forest. 38 p.

Autumn willow, Salix serissima (Bailey) Fern., is an obligate wetland shrub that occurs in fens and bogs in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Disjunct populations of autumn willow occur in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Only two populations occur on Black Hills National Forest lands: a large population at McIntosh Fen and a small population on Middle Boxelder Creek. Both populations occur in association with specific geologic and hydrologic conditions that have resulted in an elevated water table, fen-like habitats and saturated organic substrates. These habitats are extremely rare in the Black Hills. Monitoring data indicate the McIntosh Fen population is stable to increasing, perhaps in response to recent restoration efforts and several years of high precipitation. These results are encouraging, but whether restoration of autumn willow habitat is possible at the newly discovered site on Middle Boxelder Creek remains to be seen. The persistence of autumn willow in the Black Hills is dependent on conserving these two populations on public land, which makes the species highly vulnerable to catastrophes such as severe declines in the water table, spread of diseases or invasions by noxious weeds and other invasive species.

Keywords: autumn willow, beaver ecology, Black Hills, fen, Salix serissima, wetland restoration


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Conservation assessment for the autumn willow in the Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota and Wyoming
Electronic Publish Date: March 18, 2008
Last Update:
March 18, 2008

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