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Blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima Torr.): State of our knowledge and future challenges [Chapter 10]

Posted date: September 02, 2015
Publication Year: 
2015
Publication Series: 
Book Chapter
Source: In: Huenneke, Laura F.; van Riper, Charles, III; Hays-Gilpin, Kelley A., eds. The Colorado Plateau VI: Science and Management at the Landscape Scale. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press. p. 142-155.

Abstract

Blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima Torr.) is a regionally dominant shrub species found in the transition zone between North American warm and cold deserts where it occupies millions of hectares on National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Forest lands. Blackbrush habitat is under severe threat of loss from the combined effects of exotic annual grasses, increased fire frequency, and rapid climate change. Attempts to restore blackbrush habitat have met with limited success. This research synthesizes existing information on blackbrush biology and ecology. Our goal is to guide successful restoration efforts. Recent genetic work has revealed the existence of two metapopulations corresponding to the Mojave and Colorado Plateau regions. This work, along with germination and reciprocal transplant studies, demonstrates the need to use appropriate seed sources. Blackbrush plants produce large seed crops infrequently; however, seed can be stored for 10-12 years with minimal loss of viability. Establishment success may be enhanced by planting seeds in the fall to meet chilling requirements, and in small groups at 2.5-4.0 em in depth to mimic rodent caches. Current observations and projected changes in climate suggest that attempts to restore blackbrush at lower elevations than its current distribution would be unlikely to succeed. Common garden experiments under multiple climate conditions will give us a better understanding of climatic tolerances. Further research is needed to develop new and better restoration techniques.

Citation

Pendleton, Rosemary L.; Pendleton, Burton K.; Meyer, Susan E.; Richardson, Bryce; Esque, Todd; Kitchen, Stanley G. 2015. Blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima Torr.): State of our knowledge and future challenges [Chapter 10]. In: Huenneke, Laura F.; van Riper, Charles, III; Hays-Gilpin, Kelley A., eds. The Colorado Plateau VI: Science and Management at the Landscape Scale. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press. p. 142-155.