NO TIME FOR SUCESSION: MAKING DESERT OUT OF ABANDONED AGRICULTURE

Author: 
Tucker, Ron A.
Publisher: 
Society for Range Management
Publication Year: 
2018
Description: 
Large-scale dryland reclamation is arguably one of the most difficult undertakings in restoration ecology.� This assertion compounds when restoration goals are established using socio-political deadlines with little to no consideration of edaphic development or biotic successional requirements.� Soil development and natural establishment of plant communities in undisturbed deserts is increasingly slow with late seral communities evolving over centuries.� Restoration goals in highly disturbed sites are often unrealistically set in the decadal time scale.� In 2003, restoration goals for 253 acres of abandoned agricultural lands in Laws California were developed including species, foliar cover, composition, and uniform distribution requirements.� All goals were to be completed by 2013.� Even after considerable capital investments and labor during the first five years progress was insufficient to attain goals within the specified time period.� The challenges associated with dryland restoration had proven to be extreme and numerous including high temperatures, limited moisture, low fertility and highly disturbed soils.� From 2003 to present inexpensive broadcast and dryland drill seeding methods transitioned to more costly above ground driplines and direct seeding methods, to ultimately a more involved and expensive method utilizing hundreds of miles of below ground drip lines and thousands of containerized plants.� Also during this time soil stability and microbial studies were conducted, various methods to control wind erosion and rodent herbivory were developed and duration and timing of irrigation water was refined.� Synergy of these improvements occurred in 2009 with the addition of two fully automated climate controlled greenhouses allowing for an aggressive twice annual outplanting of up to 36,000 containerized plants.� Although great strides were made during those last four years, goals were ultimately not met in 2013.� To date 233 of 253 acres have been fully planted with healthy maturing plants. New restoration goals are currently being developed.
Conference Name: 
SRM Reno, NV
Conference Date: 
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Resource Type: 
Text
Document Type: 
Conference Proceedings
Society for Range Management

A collection of presentation titles and abstracts from the SRM Annual Meeting and Tradeshows