Shrub and Forb Diversity Islands

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Shrub and Forb Diversity Islands

December 4, 2013

Dan Mummey explains efforts to establish a seedbank for local genotypes in areas disconnected from potential seed sources.

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Work crews collected seeds of native species this year. Amounts collected are not sufficient to drill or broadcast over large areas. This high-value seed will be sown in patches to establish a seedbank for local genotypes in areas disconnected from potential seed sources. Connectivity is important to ecosystem function. Patches of plant species facilitate connectivity in insect, bird, and mammal communities.

Seeds used for shrub and forb diversity islands

Antennaria seeds are wind dispersed but unlikely to travel to isolated restoration sites.

Rabbitbrush provides an important food source for late-season pollinators.

Patch Design

Imprinters are used to make holes for seeds. Imprinter depth can be adjusted to accommodate the placement depth requirements of different seeds. Planting crews wont have to think about proper seed placement depth.

Shrub patches are distributed to increase connectivity between the south center-pivot, Lower Woodchuck, and future restoration areas above the upper house and Partridge Alley. Mechanized seeding is planned for next spring. Fringed sage and rabbitbrush are included in seed mixes.

Bitterbrush, mountain mahogany and winterfat will be seeded. Fine soils and abundant nearby seed sources make this area susceptible to sagebrush invasion. Sagebrush will establish in this area without assistance.

We drill-seeded bitterbrush and rabbitbrush across this area. Shrub island species include mountain mahogany, winterfat, sagebrush and junipers. Containerized rough fescue plantings are planned for the area enclosed by the red ellipse.

We will drill grass, forb, and shrub seeds on this steep slope if it can be done safely. Otherwise, crews will broadcast and rake in seed manually. Bitterbrush is included in shrub islands.

Bitterbrush is established on similar nearby sites on the Sapphire Ranch. and is expected to do well in these fields.