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New Mexico State University (2021)

Hydrogel Water Retention Amendments and Nutrient Additions Vary in Ecological Restoration Efficacy across Soil Type and Native Plant Species

Meadors, Savannah Rene

Titre : Hydrogel Water Retention Amendments and Nutrient Additions Vary in Ecological Restoration Efficacy across Soil Type and Native Plant Species

Auteur : Meadors, Savannah Rene

Université de soutenance : New Mexico State University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) in Range Science 2021

Résumé
Ecological restoration attempts to mitigate and/or reverse ecological degradation and restore ecosystem function and stability. Defining restoration objectives depends on management resources, site-specific restoration challenges, and restoration goals. In drylands, which cover 30–40% of terrestrial surface area, there is a great need for restoration because 25% of drylands are degraded past the point in which the systems can independently recover lost ecosystem function and biodiversity. This study aims to explore abiotic factors (soil properties, nutrient limitations, water availability) that may influence the success of seeding restoration efforts. In chapter two, I explore whether hydrogels are an effective soil amendment to improve the water holding capacity of soils and overcome resource limitations. We found that hydrogels may be beneficial in sites with severe water limitations during periods of high precipitation, such as a monsoon season, potentially because they alleviate water stress associated with high temperatures or soil drainage. In the third chapter, I explore how soil origin and nutrient flushing influence the efficacy of four native seed mixes, and whether those trends are consistent in monocultures and more diverse seed mixes. I found that when water was not limiting, soil nutrient limitations may not inhibit germination and establishment of seedlings ; soil type only had a significant effect on the monoculture germination and aboveground biomass. Soil type elicited trends at the species level, but in multiple species mixes, nutrient condition was the dominant driver of trends. There is hope for more efficacious restoration action in drylands if site specific abiotic and biotic conditions are readily taken into account in precision restoration land management strategies, and research continues to describe the mechanisms limiting establishment and those that can be leveraged to improve restoration success.

Présentation

Aperçu du document (ProQuest)

Page publiée le 6 décembre 2021