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Plant recruitment and soil microbial characteristics of rehabilitation seedings following wildfire in northern Utah

Posted date: October 03, 2014
Publication Year: 
2014
Authors: Taylor, Megan M.; Hild, Ann L.; Shaw, Nancy L.; Norton, Urszula; Collier, Timothy R.
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Restoration Ecology. 22(5): 598-607.

Abstract

One goal of post-fire native species seeding is to increase plant community resistance to exotic weed invasions, yet few studies address the impacts of seeding on exotic annual establishment and persistence. In 2010 and 2011, we investigated the influence of seedings on exotic annuals and the underlying microbial communities. The wildfire site in northern Utah was formerly dominated by Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis, but burned in September 2008. Experimental seeding treatments were installed in November 2008 to examine strategies for establishing native species using two drills, hand broadcasts and different timing of seed applications (resulting in 13 seeding treatments). We collected aboveground biomass of invasive annuals (Halogeton glomeratus, Salsola kali, and Bromus tectorum), other volunteer plants from the extant seed bank, and seeded species from all treatments in the second and third years after fire.We sampled soils within microsites beneath native perennial bunchgrass and exotic annuals to characterize underlying soil microbial communities. High precipitation following seeding led to strong seedling establishment and we found few differences between seeding treatments established with either drill. All seeded treatments reduced exotic biomass by at least 90% relative to unseeded controls. Soil microbial communities (phospholipid fatty acid analysis), beneath B. tectorum, Poa secunda, and Pseudoroegneria spicata microsites differed little 3 years after fire. However, microbial abundance beneath P. spicata increased fromJune to July, suggesting that microbial communities beneath successful seedings can vary greatly within a single growing season.

Citation

Taylor, Megan M.; Hild, Ann L.; Shaw, Nancy L.; Norton, Urszula; Collier, Timothy R. 2014. Plant recruitment and soil microbial characteristics of rehabilitation seedings following wildfire in northern Utah. Restoration Ecology. 22(5): 598-607.