Developing and Testing a Robust, Multi-Scale Framework for the Recovery of Longleaf Pine Understory Communities
Final rept. May 2009 - Apr 2015
WISCONSIN UNIV MADISON
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The DoD and DOE are faced with the challenge of implementing the successful recovery of southeastern plant communities in a way that is consistent with continued execution of mission-related activities. Achieving this goal requires 1 quantifying ecological reference models, 2 developing a means to assessing how degraded stands differ from reference stands, 3 determining which recovery strategies will be effective, and 4 devising metrics to quantify recovery progress. To understand recovery of longleaf pine Pinus palustris stands on Department of Defense DoD military installations, this project followed a three-phase process that directly parallels three technical objectives aimed at achieving these four goals. In Phase 1, longleaf pine savanna understory plant communities were assessed using ecological reference models parameterized with available datasets related to historic and contemporary drivers of degradation. In Phase 2, the importance of ecological mechanisms seed dispersal limitation, plant consumers, plant competition, and microsite availability were experimentally evaluated for recovery of the savannas identified in Phase 1. In Phase 3, a recovery assessment model was created based on the results of Phases 1 and 2.