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Every restoration is unique: testing year effects and site effects as drivers of initial restoration trajectories

Published on Aug 1, 2017in Journal of Applied Ecology5.782
· DOI :10.1111/1365-2664.12861
Katharine L. Stuble14
Estimated H-index: 14
(UC Davis: University of California, Davis),
Stephen E. Fick8
Estimated H-index: 8
(UC Davis: University of California, Davis),
Truman P. Young53
Estimated H-index: 53
(UC Davis: University of California, Davis)
Abstract
Summary The outcomes of restoration efforts are contingent on the specifics of the restoration practices utilized, but also on uncontrolled contingencies such as site effects and year effects. Although restoration practitioners have long been aware that the successes of their projects vary from site to site and from year to year, there have been few direct experimental tests of these contingencies. We established grassland restoration plots identically across three sites in northern California, in each of four establishment years (for 12 site-year combinations). The resulting plant communities differed significantly across sites and across establishment years. As a consequence of these community differences, there were ‘forb years’ and ‘grass years’, although these sometimes differed among sites. Multivariate analysis identified mean annual temperature and total precipitation as likely drivers of some of these differences. Synthesis and applications. Our results not only confirm the idiosyncratic nature of the results of restoration efforts (and ecological experiments in general) but also demonstrate that some of this variation can potentially be related to measurable environmental conditions. Understanding the drivers of this variability can ultimately aid restoration practitioners by allowing them to focus restoration efforts on years and sites most likely to yield desired outcomes.
  • References (37)
  • Citations (27)
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References37
Newest
#1Truman P. Young (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 53
#2Katharine L. Stuble (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 14
Last. Chhaya M. Werner (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 3
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Restoration success is often hampered by the failure of less dominant competitors to establish. An emerging literature on priority effects suggests the manipulation of community assembly as a useful technique to help overcome these difficulties by altering competitive relationships. We present data from a set of four priority experiments, carried out at each of three sites in restoration settings in California grasslands. These data, combined with patterns summarized from the literature, indicat...
21 CitationsSource
#1Chhaya M. Werner (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 3
#2Kurt J. Vaughn (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 7
Last. Truman P. Young (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 53
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The order of species arrival can dramatically alter the trajectory of community development. While there is experimental evidence that priority effects can be important drivers of community structure early on, the persistence and duration of these effects is unclear. Here we report on a community assembly experiment in which a mix of four native grasses and a mix of four native forbs were planted on their own, together, or with one-year priority over the other guild. We found positive effects of...
16 CitationsSource
#1Brian J. HarveyH-Index: 16
#2Daniel C. Donato (DOS: United States Department of State)H-Index: 29
Last. Monica G. TurnerH-Index: 89
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Aim Climate warming and increased wildfire activity are hypothesized to catalyse biogeographical shifts, reducing the resilience of fire-prone forests world-wide. Two key mechanisms underpinning hypotheses are: (1) reduced seed availability in large stand-replacing burn patches, and (2) reduced seedling establishment/survival after post-fire drought. We tested for regional evidence consistent with these mechanisms in an extensive fire-prone forest biome by assessing post-fire tree seedling estab...
87 CitationsSource
#1Kurt J. Vaughn (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 7
#2Truman P. Young (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 53
Temporal priority can affect individual performance and reproduction, as well as community assembly, but whether these effects persist over time remains unclear, and their demographic mechanisms have been little explored. The continued dominance of exotic annual grasses in California has been commonly attributed to their demonstrated early germination and rapid early growth relative to native perennial grasses. This advantage may play a crucial role in the structure of California exotic annual g...
39 CitationsSource
#1Truman P. Young (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 53
#2Emily P. Zefferman (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 3
Last. Stephen E. Fick (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 8
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Ecological communities are increasingly being recognized as the products of contemporary drivers and historical legacies that are both biotic and abiotic. In an attempt to unravel multiple layers of ecological contingency, we manipulated (i) competition with exotic annual grasses, (ii) the timing of this competition (temporal priority in arrival/seeding times) and (iii) watering (simulated rainfall) in a restoration-style planting of native perennial grasses. In addition, we replicated this expe...
28 CitationsSource
#1Leah J. Goldstein (UCI: University of California, Irvine)H-Index: 4
#2Katharine N. Suding (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 42
Changes in rainfall distribution, generally predicted by many climate models, can affect resource dynamics and ecosystem function. While little studied, intra-annual rainfall distribution may have particularly strong effects on competitive interactions. Here, we test whether increased rainfall event size and decreased frequency within a growing season can influence competitive dynamics related to the invasion of exotic annual grasses in California coastal sage scrub (CSS). We hypothesized that l...
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#1Emily Grman (MSU: Michigan State University)H-Index: 13
#2Tyler Bassett (MSU: Michigan State University)H-Index: 4
Last. Lars A. Brudvig (MSU: Michigan State University)H-Index: 24
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Summary 1. The outcomes of ecological restoration are notoriously unpredictable, but we have no general predictive understanding of this contingency. Management decisions can have strong effects on restoration outcomes, but in other cases may be overwhelmed by site characteristics (e.g. soil conditions), landscape context (e.g. abundance of similar habitat) or historical factors (e.g. priority effects). However, we generally cannot predict which of these four classes of drivers will affect resto...
54 CitationsSource
#1Paul Kardol (UT: University of Tennessee)H-Index: 28
#2Lara Souza (UT: University of Tennessee)H-Index: 17
Last. Aimée T. Classen (UT: University of Tennessee)H-Index: 34
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Assembly history, including the order in which species arrive into a community, can infl uence long-term community structure; however we know less about how timing of species arrival may alter assembly especially under varying resource conditions. To explore how the timing of species arrival interacts with resource availability to alter community assembly, we constructed experimental plant communities and manipulated the interval between plantings of groups of seedlings (0, 5, 10, 15 or 20 days)...
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#1Timothy B. Hoelzle (CSU: Colorado State University)H-Index: 1
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Summary 1. Plant community succession has been a major area of study over the past century with recent research focusing on the importance of initial colonisers following disturbance. Seed addition can accelerate ecosystem regeneration and is a method commonly used by land managers to restore disturbed lands. However, few studies have examined the effects of seeding treatments on long-term community composition. 2. A study was established in 1984 in the Piceance Basin of northwest Colorado to ex...
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#1Lars A. Brudvig (MSU: Michigan State University)H-Index: 24
The practice of ecological restoration is a primary option for increasing levels of biodiversity by modifying human-altered ecosystems. The scientifi c discipline of restoration ecology provides conceptual guidance and tests of restoration strategies, with the ultimate goal of predictive landscape restoration. I construct a conceptual model for restoration of biodiversity, based on sitelevel (e.g., biotic and abiotic) conditions, landscape (e.g, interpatch connectivity and patch geometry), and h...
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Ecological restoration — the rebuilding of damaged or destroyed ecosystems — is a critical component of conservation efforts, but is hindered by inconsistent, unpredictable outcomes. We investigated a source of this variation that is anecdotally suggested by practitioners, but for which empirical evidence is rare: the weather conditions during the first growing season after planting. The idea of whether natural communities face long-term consequences from conditions even many years in the past, ...
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The restoration of tallgrass prairies is often centered on reestablishing plants, with only minor efforts directed to the fauna that inhabit these areas. Small mammals play important ecological roles in many ecosystems, so understanding how management techniques such as the reintroduction of bison (Bison bison) and prescribed fire affect them can assist in a more comprehensive evaluation of restoration efforts in sites being actively restored. Our objective was to assess impacts of reintroduced ...
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