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Collaborative science to foster native plant conservation and restoration

Posted date: July 12, 2016

PNW field crew collecting species data at the bluebunch wheatgrass experimental site west of Othelo, WA (Photo by: Holly Prendeville, PNW Research Station)
PNW field crew collecting species data at the bluebunch wheatgrass experimental site west of Othelo, WA (Photo by: Holly Prendeville, PNW Research Station)
FORT COLLINS, Colo., July 11, 2016 – The health of ecosystems across the West is increasingly impacted by many factors including climate change and drought. This is challenging land managers with a pressing need for more science-based integrated restoration methods. To meet that challenge, scientists from the three western U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service’s research stations – Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest and Rocky Mountain – established a collaborative group called the Western Center for Native Plant Conservation and Restoration Science.

The Center’s mission is to address – and provide science-based solutions to – ongoing challenges in the conservation and restoration of western ecosystems, including impacts from wildland fire, invasive species, climate change and drought; increased occurrence of wildland fire in California chaparral and Great Basin sagebrush; and the decline of pollinators.

The Center will maximize existing and future collaborations among scientists and a wide cadre of federal, state, tribal and private organizations toward the common goal of native plant conservation, restoration and ecosystem resiliency.

RMRS and PNW field crews training on data collection at bluebunch wheatgrass experimental plot in Central Ferry, WA (Photo by: Holly Prendeville, PNW Research Station)
RMRS and PNW field crews training on data collection at bluebunch wheatgrass experimental plot in Central Ferry, WA (Photo by: Holly Prendeville, PNW Research Station)
Participating scientists include research plant physiologists, geneticists, ecologists, botanists and entomologists, among others. This collaborative builds on a long legacy of six established science-management partnerships with federal and state agencies, seed and seedling producers and universities that include the Great Basin Native Plant Project; National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries and Genetic Resources; and the Seedlot Selection Tool Project.

Numerous national strategies developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Interagency partnerships and the White House, such as the National Seed Strategy, call for more research on seeds, stressors and disturbances, restoration and pollinator conservation, which makes native plant science a top priority.

For more information about this collaborative group, please contact Kas Dumroese, WCNP Center director at (208) 883-2324.

 

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The research and development (R&D) arm of the Forest Service, a component of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, works at the forefront of science to improve the health and use of our Nation's forests and grasslands. Research has been part of the Forest Service mission since the agency's inception in 1905.

The organization consists of seven research stations and 81 experimental forests and ranges. Forest Service R&D interacts with national forests in nine regions and with the agency's State and Private Deputy Area throughout the United States. Forest Service R&D is also allied with agencies in the USDA Research, Education, and Economics mission area, including the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service, and ARS' National Agricultural Library. Forest Service R&D also partners with other federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, and the private sector.


The Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) is one of seven units within the U.S. Forest Service Research and Development. RMRS maintains 14 field laboratories throughout a 12-state territory encompassing parts of the Great Basin, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and the Great Plains. RMRS also administers and conducts research on 14 experimental forests, ranges and watersheds and maintains long-term research databases for these areas. While anchored in the geography of the West our research is global in scale. To find out more about the RMRS go to www.fs.fed.us/rmrs. You can also follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/usfs_rmrs.

 

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Cass Cairns
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(970) 498-1370