Journal article icon

Native plants in urban landscapes: A biological imperative

View article.

Urban populations rely on a suite of ecosystem services generally provided by the ecological function of natural areas. But the expansion of urban environments and growing suburban or exurban neighborhoods often necessitates destruction of those natural areas for development supporting a growing urban populace. Ecological impacts from development reduce regional biodiversity and negatively affect the ability of remaining natural areas to provide goods and services critical to people. Secondary impacts to biodiversity also occur at broad geographic scales through commodity production supporting urban centers. For example, agricultural production often involves creating agroeconomic systems based largely on farming a limited number of species, and commonly relegates biological diversity to small patches of land deemed unsuitable for crops. Such practices exacerbate the negative biological effects inherent in urban development and drastically increase the need for urban populations to address biological diversity within municipalities. Residents are becoming progressively knowledgeable about environmental issues and are expressing values and concerns to local and regional managing agencies. Governments are responding to public pressure through recommendations intended to reduce resource use, improve wildlife habitat, and provide a local aesthetic. Although the appropriateness of native plants in urban settings is often questioned, the use of regionally specific native vegetation is identified as one method to meet those recommendations. Native plants as primary landscape elements have the added benefit of increasing biodiversity and creating environments capable of providing ecosystem goods and services within urban environments.

Synthesis/Technical Report icon

Rangeland water developments at springs: Best practices for design, rehabilitation, and restoration

Access report.

Springs serve an ecologically important role as perennial water sources, essential habitat for native species, and support for stream flow. Spring developments on rangelands provide water to livestock and wildlife. Thoughtful design of sustainable developments will supply water to livestock and wildlife while maintaining the intrinsic ecological functions and values of springs. This guide addresses spring development project planning as well as long-term sustainable management of springs. The objectives of spring development design are (1) to retain hydrologic conditions in the developed spring habitat that are similar to undeveloped reference habitats and (2) to create a system that is easy to install and maintain. Report presents two gravity-flow development designs that incorporate flow-splitting devices to regulate environmental flows and levels and to work in a wide range of hydrologic conditions.

Conference/meeting icon

Reclaim, Restore, Rewild – Joint conference with Canadian Land Reclamation, Society for Ecological Restoration, and Society of Wetland Scientists

Visit conference website.

Reclaim, Restore, Rewild is a joint conference with Canadian Land Reclamation, Society for Ecological Restoration, and Society of Wetland Scientists. It will be June 19-24, 2021 at the Quebec City Convention Center in Canada.

The theme of the 2021 June 19-24 conference is “From Reclaiming to Restoring and Rewilding”. It aims to stimulate discussions about the range of environmental management approaches advocated by the three hosting societies. Reclaiming is recognized and practiced by many industries, including mining and petrol extraction. Restoring is recognized most broadly around the world, and has been the main focus of SER. Rewilding, or bringing back to nature, allows us to dream.

Open book with lines simulating text on left and right pages

Differential effects of herbivory on aspen forest regeneration and recruitment

View study.

All three ungulate species had significant and similar effects on aspen regeneration success, but when adjusted for differences in estimated forage intake (animal unit months), differential impacts became apparent (deer > elk > cattle). We estimated that 4 cattle per camera−1 day−1 and 2.5 deer or elk per camera−1 day−1 was sufficient to reach the critical recruitment threshold of 60% removal of apical meristems. We conclude that ungulates species differentially influence aspen regeneration and recruitment, and that ungulate browsing above 30% meristem removal impairs aspen recruitment with recruitment failure occurring above 60% meristem loss.

Open book with a bar chart on left page and line graph and lines simulating text on the right page

Do perennial bunchgrasses exclude cheatgrass in post-fire rehabilitation?

View report.

Data on plant cover and density was collected on 67 sites in a 209,000 ha study area that varied in fire and post-fire rehabilitation history along gradients in elevation, soil texture, and precipitation. Multiple linear regression indicated significant inverse relationships between B. tectorum and both P. secunda and A. cristatum, but P. secunda had suppressed B. tectorum cover and density better than A. cristatum. A nonparametric multiple regression analyzing the effect of 86 abiotic and biotic independent variables indicated that elevation, mid to late season native perennial bunchgrasses, and the number of post-fire rehabilitation treatments (for B. tectorum cover) or time since most recent rehabilitation (for B. tectorum density) explained the most variation in Bromus tectorum suppression across the landscape.

Open book with lines simulating text on left and right pages

Selecting provenance: Local native or nonlocal native?

View article.

This paper identifies actions needed in order to improve provenance decision-making. Priority actions include embedding provenance trials into restoration projects; developing dynamic, evidence-based provenance policies; and establishing stronger research-practitioner collaborations to promote provenance choice and implement research outcomes for future restoration projects. Understanding how a changing climate will impact future restoration projects is also an important consideration when making decisions around provenance.

Single sheet of paper with bullet points

Hand-built structures for restoring degraded meadows in sagebrush

View technical note.

This technical note provides conservation practitioners with information on simple yet effective “Zeedyk” restoration techniques. The emphasis here is on structures that can be built by hand to address shallow headcuts or small incised channels (< 4 ft deep) impacting meadows and low-to-moderate gradient (< 3% slope) intermittent/ephemeral drainages in sagebrush rangelands. The note provides examples and lessons learned from partners in the Gunnison Climate Working Group who have been implementing a landscape-scale project using these techniques in the Upper Gunnison River Basin, Colorado. The note provides information and references to help practitioners identify opportunities, prioritize treatments, and design projects in similar watersheds across the West.

A closed bound booklet with binoculars

Roadside revegetation: An integrated approach to establishing native plants and pollinator habitat

View guide.

This guide offers an integrated approach to facilitate the successful establishment of native plants and pollinator habitat along roadsides and other areas of disturbance associated with road modifications. It guides readers through a comprehensive process of initiating, planning, implementing, maintaining and monitoring a roadside revegetation project with native plants and pollinator habitat.

App icon

Ecoregional Revegetation Application (ERA)

Access application and maps.

The ERA Tool is a map-based, searchable application to select native plants for restoration and pollinator habitat enhancement by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Level III Ecoregions. Since ecoregions are areas of similar climate and topography that contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural communities and species, they are an ideal organizing unit for selecting plants for restoration. State floras, on the other hand, have many species that only occur in some ecoregions and are not appropriate choices for restoration elsewhere.

Contact: Mark Skinner, USDA Forest Service, 503-312-1656,

The ERA is part of a comprehensive national revegetation learning project called Roadside Revegetation: An Integrated Approach to Establishing Native Plants and Pollinator Habitat. Learn more

Open book with lines simulating text on left and right pages

Variation in sagebrush communities historically seeded with crested wheatgrass in the eastern Great Basin

View article.

In this study, a multivariate dataset was analyzed using principal components analysis to identify “defining factors” that best explained variation among sites. Variation was primarily attributed to an inverse relationship between crested wheatgrass and sagebrush abundance (R2 = 0.69; P < 0.0001) and their affinity for either silty or sandy soil textures, respectively, as well as a negative association between crested wheatgrass abundance and species diversity (R2 = 0.67; P < 0.0001). These results do not support the assumption that crested wheatgrass seedings uniformly remain in vegetation states with low diversity and poor sagebrush reestablishment over the long term (i.e., 43 − 63 yr). We suggest that a broader interpretation of plant community dynamics is needed while avoiding generalizations of how historically seeded Wyoming big sagebrush sites will respond over time.

Narrow your search

Stay Connected