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Restoration of heterogeneous disturbance regimes for the preservation of endangered species

Posted date: October 01, 2014
Publication Year: 
2014
Authors: Warren, Steven D.; Buttner, Reiner
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Ecological Restoration. 32(2): 189-196.

Abstract

Disturbance is a natural component of ecosystems. All species, including threatened and endangered species, evolved in the presence of, and are adapted to natural disturbance regimes that vary in the kind, frequency, severity, and duration of disturbance. We investigated the relationship between the level of visible soil disturbance and the density of four endangered plant species on U.S. Army training lands in the German state of Bavaria. Two species, gray hairgrass (Corynephorus canescens) and mudwort (Limosella aquatica), showed marked affinity for or dependency on high levels of recent soil disturbance. The density of fringed gentian (Gentianella ciliata) and shepherd's cress (Teesdalia nudicaulis) declined with recent disturbance, but appeared to favor older disturbance which could not be quantified by the methods employed in this study. The study illustrates the need to restore and maintain disturbance regimes that are heterogeneous in terms of the intensity of and time since disturbance. Such a restoration strategy has the potential to favor plant species along the entire spectrum of ecological succession, thereby maximizing plant biodiversity and ecosystem stability.

Citation

Warren, Steven D.; Buttner, Reiner. 2014. Restoration of heterogeneous disturbance regimes for the preservation of endangered species. Ecological Restoration. 32(2): 189-196.