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322 East Front Street
Boise, ID, 83702
United States

208-373-4344

Providing the knowledge and technology required to improve the availability of native plant materials for restoring diverse native plant communities across the Great Basin.

2015 Climate Change & Seed Zones

Climate Change Effects on Native Plant Establishment and Annual Grass Invasion: Implications for Restoration
Beth Newingham and Keirith Snyder

Our study will:

1) increase our understanding of the basic biology and ecology of several native species
2) determine native plant sensitivity to altered climate
3) provide recommendations on native plant material selections under future climate
4) offer insight into the resilience of native plant communities to climate change and resistance to invasion.

In a field experiment, we will examine the effects of increased temperature and altered precipitation on native and invasive plant growth, reproduction, and community dynamics. In field plots, we will establish three-3x3m plots with the following four treatments: control, warming, drought, and warming + drought (12 plots total). Passive warming chambers will be constructed to increase soil temperatures approximately 5°C (Germino and Smith 1999). Rainout shelters will be constructed to reduce precipitation by 50% (Yahdijan and Sala 2002). Weather at the site will be monitored with a weather station and monitoring equipment under the shelters. The weather station will measure precipitation, relative humidity, air temperature, windspeed and direction, and incoming solar radiation. Additionally, we will measure soil moisture and temperature (2 and 5 cm depths), air temperature, relative humidity, and precipitation under the chambers/shelters.

This study is designed as a pilot study with the intention for further studies, which may include different native species, seeding rates, altered timing of rain, etc. Future experiments intend to examine how climate affects species interactions and invasions along climatic and elevation gradients in the Great Basin.

In a field experiment, we will:

• Determine the effects of warming and drought on invasive and native plant emergence, growth, and reproduction.
• Investigate what native species mixtures may compete with B. tectorum or B. rubens in future climate.