Use of seed enhancement technologies for overcoming abiotic and biotic limitations to native plant establishment

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Matthew Madsen

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Rangeland degradation and desertification is a global problem with many regions of the world experiencing declines in ecosystem goods and services and biodiversity. Often the only means of restoring these lands involves seeding with native species. The sagebrush steppe ecosystem of western North America is an example of a dryland system that is undergoing rapid ecological change as wildfires and other disturbances remove native perennial plant communities and convert the system to an exotic annual grassland. Land practitioners currently do not possess the tools needed to consistently reestablish native plants in these degraded landscapes. In this presentation, we will examine limiting factors impairing seedling establishment and show how seed enhancement technologies have the potential to overcome these identified barriers to restoration success. We will specifically share how seed enhancement technologies have the potential to improve seed delivery, protect seeds from predation and pathogen attack, improve seed germination timing, minimize mortality from freezing soils, preserve seed energy levels, and enhance seedling vigor to promote survival under drought conditions. These seed enhancement strategies have the potential to dramatically improve the effectiveness of seeding treatments that are intended to protect or restore the diversity and productivity of dryland ecosystems.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration