Landscape-scale disturbances are increasing in size and frequency across public lands. Understanding how to restore plant communities and ecosystem function to these areas is of critical importance. Ecological studies have demonstrated a positive relationship between plant diversity and ecosystem function. This research will provide tools to help practitioners successfully incorporate forbs into their restoration seed mixes as a way to increase plant diversity after disturbance.
Preliminary researcher observations at the greenhouse facility are already documenting differences in growth form within and across populations of the focal species. More specifically, some individuals within populations are bolting and flowering early, while others are producing basal rosettes and are not producing flowers in their first year. These different strategies occur in different proportions across the populations.
In the spring of 2020, we will begin collecting trait measurements for the plug-planted individuals. We will also start the seed germination portion of the experiment, which will help identify variation in early life history traits and could lead to demographic models for these species. Academic cooperators will also begin their unique experiments regarding species interactions and plant microbiomes, which will eventually be linked to the results from the common gardens and the population genetics analysis.