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Lindstrom, Jessica [1], Ahlering, Marissa [2], Hamilton, Jill [3].

Seed sourcing for climate-resilient grasslands: the role of genetic variation in restoration.

North American grasslands are one of the most threatened ecosystems globally and extensive anthropogenic conversion has had substantial impacts on essential ecosystem services unique to grassland systems. Given these impacts recent efforts have been implemented to restore these biodiverse communities, however restoration practices offer their own unique challenges. Traditionally restoration combines reference sites with historical information to inform restoration decisions and advocate a “local is best” seed sourcing approach. More recently, however, a regional admixture approach of sourcing seed across a region has been advocated but has not been largely field tested. We established replicated restoration plots at two different sites using fourteen grassland species and two levels of population seed source diversity, single population seed mixes and five-population seed mixes, to test the role of regional seed source diversity on restoration success. Following establishment, we monitored experimental restorations using traditional metrics of successful establishment, including species richness, evenness, abundance, and diversity. During the first year of observation, we noted restored plant communities were largely dominated by “weedy”, non-planted species and that unique site history played a prominent role in shaping the plant community that emerged irrespective of seed mix application. These data point towards the need for longer-term monitoring to test the role of population diversity in seed mixes, but also provide an essential baseline for comparison across subsequent growing seasons to evaluate community change over time. This work will be necessary to help develop regional seed sourcing guidelines and inform seed collections from multiple species’ population of origin to ensure restorations have the capacity to adapt and change over time.

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1 - North Dakota State University, Stevens Hall, 1650 Centennial Blvd, Fargo, North Dakota, 58102, United States
2 - The Nature Conservancy, 4107 10th St. S, Moorhead, MN, 56560, USA
3 - North Dakota State University, Biological Sciences, PO Box 6050, Dept. 2715, Fargo, ND, 58102, United States

Seed Sourcing.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ECO3, Ecology: Climate Change
Location: /
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 3:45 PM(EDT)
Number: ECO3004
Abstract ID:624
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Graduate Student Paper

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