Agoseris seed field

An assessment of native seed needs and their capacity for their supply

Webinar registration.
An Assessment of Native Seed Needs and the Capacity for Their Supply: Final Report will be released on Thursday, January 26, 2023. The report was authored by a committee appointed by the National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering and will be available at 8 am Pacific/9 am Mtn on the National Academies Press website (
At 10 am Pacific/11 am Mtn that day there will be a public webinar on the report’s findings and recommendations. Members of the National Academies’ committee that authored the report will answer questions at the end of the presentation. The webinar is free, but registration is required.
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Climate-driven adaptive evolution to guide seed sourcing for restoration in Eriogonum umbellatum

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Within a common garden, 69 populations from diverse seed sources and 13 taxonomic varieties were evaluated for 17 phenological, morphological, and production traits in 2016 and 2017. Analyses of variance showed taxonomic varieties and seed source locations differed for all plant traits. Linear correlation revealed source locations with warmer mean temperature and more precipitation generally had later phenology, larger umbels, more leaf area, higher leaf dry weight, and more seed and shoot dry weight production. Canonical correlation strongly linked seed source climates at source locations with plant traits evaluated in the common garden, suggesting climate-driven adaptive evolution. Canonical variates 1 and 2, explaining 60% of the variation, were used to develop regression models that predicted their values from climate variables across the study area. Using geographic information technology these were mapped into 12 seed zones representing 1.31 million km2 in the Western United States. These zones were designed to provide guidance to practitioners when sourcing sulfur-flower buckwheat for restoration projects. We expect this methodology can be successfully applied to other species to develop seed zones based on adaptive evolution.

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Radial thinning: Not as beneficial as hoped

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In a 16-year study, Rocky Mountain Research Station Research Ecologist Sharon Hood and her colleagues assessed three types of radial thinning to determine whether they would improve the growth and survival of sugar pines, a species of white pine, in southwest Oregon on sites located in the Umpqua National Forest and Bureau of Land Management Roseburg District. In addition to evaluating a control group, the researchers examined three kinds of treatments in which trees and shrubs were removed around sugar pines to 3 m (10 ft); 7.6 m (25 ft), while retaining large trees with diameters greater than 64 cm (2 ft); or 7.6 m (25 ft). Though some of the radial thinning strategies seemed promising at the 9-year mark, the radial thinning did not improve sugar pine survival at the end of the study (year 16), as compared to the control group. The extended (7.6 m) radial thinning with complete tree removal  treatment did increase tree growth for sugar pine that survived, but the level of tree mortality was similar regardless of whether trees had radial thinning or not. Most tree mortality was due to the native mountain pine beetle.

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Society for Ecological Restoration: Reclaim, Restore, Rewild Conference

Conference website.

A joint conference between the Society for Ecological Restoration – Eastern Canada and the Canadian Land Reclamation Association  from June 11th to 15th, 2023, at the third year of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030). We are also excited to cooperate with the Ontario chapter of SER, the Midwest Great Lakes Chapter of SER, the Canadian chapter of the Society of Wetland Scientists, the International Society for Horticultural Science, and the International Peatland Society to provide an enlarged scientific and field program.

The proposed theme of the conference for 2023 is “From Reclaiming to Restoring and Rewilding”. It aims to stimulate discussions about the range of environmental management approaches advocated by the 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. These terms also imply ideas of industry, science, practice, society and imagination. They run from the practical to the creative.

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Limitations on post-wildfire sagebrush seedling establishment

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Field data from 460 sagebrush populations sampled across the Great Basin revealed several patterns. Sagebrush seedlings were uncommon in the first 1–2 years after fire, with none detected in 69% of plots, largely because most fires occurred in areas of low resistance to invasive species and resilience to disturbance (hereafter, R&R). Post-fire aerial seeding of sagebrush dramatically increased seedling occupancy, especially in low R&R areas, which exhibited a 3.4-fold increase in occupancy over similar unseeded locations. However, occupancy models and repeat surveys suggested exceptionally high mortality, as occupancy rates declined by as much as 50% between the first and second years after fire. We found the prevalence of “fertile island” microsites (patches beneath fire-consumed sagebrush) to be the best predictor of seedling occupancy, followed by aerial seeding status, native perennial grass cover, and years since fire. In populations where no sagebrush seeding occurred, seedlings were most likely to occur in locations with a combination of high fertile island microsite cover and close proximity to a remnant sagebrush plant. These important attributes were only present in 13% of post-fire locations, making them rare across the Great Basin.

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Science x Forests USFS webinar series

Webinar recordings.

  • Monday, November 14 SCIENCE x Forests: Silviculture for the present and future
    A compendium of silviculture treatments for forest types in the United States: Silviculture guidance to support modeling, scenario planning, and large-scale simulations, presented by Thomas Schuler
    Prescribed burning considerations following mechanical treatments, presented by Sharon Hood
    Reforestation in an era of megafires: A wicked problem for the Forest Service in Region 5 and elsewhere, presented by Martin Ritchie
  • Tuesday, November 15 SCIENCE x Forests: Forests and climate change
    Preparing our forests for the future, presented by Mike Battaglia
    The Pacific Northwest carbon dynamics research initiative: Co-production to assist land managers and policy makers, presented by Andrew Gray
    Sink, swim, or surf: Surging climate change impacts and the role of climate-adaptive silviculture, presented by Alejandro Royo
  • Wednesday, November 16 SCIENCE x Forests: Innovations in forest research
    From the forest to the faucet: Tools and data linking surface water from forested lands to public water systems, presented by Peter Caldwell
    Cloud computing advances regional old-growth forest monitoring for the Northwest Forest Plan, presented by David M Bell
    What is resilience in frequent-fire forests and how can it be measured?, presented by Malcolm North
  • Thursday, November 17 SCIENCE x Forests: Urban forestry, community, and wood utilization
    The science and practice of urban silviculture, presented by Nancy Sonti and Rich Hallett
    Expanding urban wood utilization, presented by Charlie Becker
    Not by trees alone: Centering community in urban forestry, presented by Lindsay Campbell
  • Friday, November 18 SCIENCE x Forests: Invasion and outbreaks in forests
    Species home-making in ecosystems: Toward place-based ecological metrics of belonging, presented by Susan Cordell
    Invasion and outbreak within an epidemiological model, presented by Rima Lucardi
    Mapping Armillaria-killed trees with high-resolution remote sensing, presented by Benjamin Bright
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Incorporating place-based values into ecological restoration

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Drawing on lessons from Indigenous knowledge systems in what is now called British Columbia, Canada, we demonstrate how place-based values directed the stewardship of historical oak-meadow and clam gardens, which created diverse and productive ecosystems that sustained for millennia. Drawing on examples of contemporary restoration projects (crabapple orchards and clam gardens) that utilize place-based values to inform the recovery of ecocultural landscapes, we propose a framework to help initiate a place-based values approach in contemporary restoration design congruent with ethics of inclusion.

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Right seedling for reforestation: Success, partners, and policy

Webinar recording.

Climate Impacts on Regeneration-
Hear from three subject-matter experts on seedling success across elevational ranges and with varying genotypes:
Justin Crotteau, Research Forester, Rocky Mountain Research Station
Aalap Dixit, Assistant Professor, New Mexico Highlands University
Bryce Richardson, Research Geneticist, Rocky Mountain Research Station
Indigenous Knowledge Exchange and Work on the Ground!

Hear from two case study experts on utilizing Indigenous knowledge for cultural values on pre- and post-burned landscapes:
James Calabaza, Trees Water People
Nona (Nanebah) Lyndon, Tribal Relations Staff Officer, Tonto National Forest, Kaibab National Forest
Sara Souther, Assoc. Professor, Northern Arizona University

Policy In The Works-
An update on the RePlant Act, and implications for land managers.
Kas Dumroese, National Nursery Specialist & Research Plant Physiologist, Rocky Mountain Research Station

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Joining laboratory, greenhouse, and field approaches to improve our understanding of fire effects on seed germination in Great Basin, Colorado Plateau, and Sonoran deserts

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Our findings suggest that all deserts exhibited vulnerability to increasing fire disturbance because relatively low soil seed densities may not provide enough propagules for revegetation. Therefore, seeding of these communities may be especially important. In the cold deserts, this susceptibility was further evidenced by the fact that aboveground community composition in fire-affected areas was significantly different from the nearby unburned  community even 30 years after fire and burned communities were associated with non-native species. That said, native species did exist in seed banks of burned sites and some taxa, like Sporobolus sp., occurred in high densities. Therefore, caution may be needed when using herbicide treatments to control exotic species as there may be unintended consequences of decreasing desirable species. In contrast, our warm desert sites exhibited less change in terms of seed densities, species richness and aboveground community composition following fire. In the face of more frequent fires, the lack of shrub seeds in the seed bank of all deserts was notable and we found no evidence of greater seed densities or unique species assemblages associated with shrub microsites.

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Management and environmental factors associated with simulated restoration seeding barriers in sagebrush steppe

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We tested the effects of site environmental variables (elevation, mean annual precipitation, heat load, and clay content) and management choices (seed source and planting date) on germination favorability and barrier occurrence (mean) and variability (coefficient of variation). Seedling exposure to barriers was strongly linked to management decisions in addition to site mean precipitation and elevation. Later fall plantings and seed sources with slower germination (lower mean germination favorability) were less likely to encounter freezing and drought barriers. These results suggest that management actions can play a role comparable to site environmental variables in reducing exposure of vulnerable seedlings to adverse weather conditions and subsequent effects on restoration outcomes.

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