• Influence of Grassland Gap on Seedling Establishment of Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvel

      Liu, G. X.; Han, J. G. (Society for Range Management, 2007-11-01)
      A field study was conducted to investigate the effects of existing adult neighbors and gap size on the process of seedling establishment in Leymus chinensis. Seeds of L. chinensis were added to artificially created gaps in a degraded steppe in North China. Neighbor root exclusion was accomplished using polyvinyl chloride tubes sunk in the soil of gaps. Seedling emergence and survivorship was greater in gaps than in control areas, but growth performance was higher only in larger gaps (20 cm and 40 cm in diameter) with neighboring roots present and in all gaps without neighboring roots present. Seedlings produced no tillers in the control and few tillers in 10-cm- and 20-cm-diameter gaps. Seedlings had more tillers in the largest gaps (40 cm) without root exclusion and in all sizes of gaps with root exclusion. Differences between gaps in light levels can explain the patterns of emergence. However, root exclusion was the major factor that increased seedling growth performance. These results confirm that L. chinensis is a gap-enhanced species and suggest that restoration of degraded grassland needs to ensure that large light gaps and low belowground competition are regularly maintained to maximize successful seedling recruitment. 
    • The Effects of Forest Residual Debris Disposal on Perennial Grass Emergence, Growth, and Survival in a Ponderosa Pine Ecotone

      Law, Darin J.; Kolb, Peter F. (Society for Range Management, 2007-11-01)
      Soil surface conditions can have profound effects on plant seedling emergence and subsequent seedling survival. To test the hypothesis that different soil-surface treatments with logging residue affect range grass seedling emergence and survival, 6 alternative forest-residual treatments were established in the summer of 1998 following thinning of mature trees from approximately 500 to 133 trees ha-1. The treatments included 1) whole logging debris, hand-piled; 2) whole logging-debris piles that were burned; 3) whole logging-debris piles that were chipped; 4) whole logging-debris piles that were chipped and burned; 5) scattered debris followed by a broadcast burn; and 6) zero debris, not burned. The influences of the debris treatments on grass seedling emergence and survival were tested by seeding with native and exotic perennial grass species. Three plots per treatment were seeded with a mix of 4 native grass species, and another 3 plots per treatment were seeded with a mix of 4 exotic grass species. Two plots per treatment were left unseeded. Subsequent grass emergence, growth, and establishment were measured as seedling emergence, cover, density, height, and biomass for 3 growing seasons. Grass cover, density height, and biomass increased on the burn treatments during the study. Less-significant results were obtained for the nonburned woody- debris treatments. In addition, important abiotic factors, such as soil moisture and soil surface temperature, were not adversely affected by the woody debris disposal practices tested in this study. Results indicate that scattered woody debris that is broadcast burned is the best mechanism for disposing of woody debris, increasing grass emergence and survival, and preventing ponderosa pine recruitment and exotic invasion.