My work is focused on plant community restoration in the Great Basin through the development of native seed supplies. From utility corridors to mining and grazing to wildfire, disturbances in the Great Basin over the last decade impact on average about 1,000,000 acres annually necessitating reseeding on hundreds of thousands of acres. Federal policy changes implemented over a decade ago require, with exceptions, the use of native plant materials for restoration projects on the 95 million acres of federal lands in the Great Basin. The result is a huge demand for native plant materials. Private production of native grass cultivars and wild land collected native shrubs largely fills the volume requirement to meet the restoration need but lacks the diversity of sources restoration practitioners desire to return appropriately adapted and genetically diverse population to the landscape. The use of native forbs is woefully underrepresented in restoration seedings comprising just 5% by volume. My work focuses primarily on increasing the number and variety of native forbs available in the marketplace through valuing forb species for plant material potential, evaluating cultural practices for seed production, developing appropriate sources and transferring both stock seed and production knowledge to the private sector. Seeding technologies and species compatibility studies bring the work closer to understanding the complexities of plant community restoration.
I am interested in a broad range of ecological relationships. My work has focused on wildlife habitat, invasive species biology, plant materials, and restoration applications.
The Abert squirrel: distribution and habitat utilization on La Sal Mountains, Utah.
Biology of squarrose knapweed (Centaurea virgata Lam. ssp. Oquarrosa (Willd.) Gugler) in west central Utah.
The Nature Conservancy rated the Great Basin as one of the most important imperiled ecosystems in the nation. On large fire years millions of acres are consumed requiring hundreds of thousands of acres of reseeding. Exotic species encroachment is rapid and expansion of Pinyon / Juniper communities threatens adjacent native communities. Restoring these areas requires a broad array of plant materials. Policy switch in the recent decade resulted in a dramatic increase in the use of natives in reseeding efforts, however limited availability of native forbs and typical high cost preclude their use on a scale comparable to the impact.