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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2009

WATER AND NITROGEN ACQUISITION BY CHEATGRASS AND NATIVE RANGELAND PLANTS

CheatGrass Native Plants

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Research, Education & Economics Information System (REEIS)

Titre : WATER AND NITROGEN ACQUISITION BY CHEATGRASS AND NATIVE RANGELAND PLANTS

Identification : NEV052UV

Pays : Etats Unis

Durée : Jul 1, 2009 à Jun 30, 2013

Domaine : Soil, Plant, Water, Nutrient Relationships ; Management of Range Resources ; Desert and semidesert shrub land and shinnery ;

Partenaire : UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA RENO

Objectif
The overall goal of this project is to further understand the roles of water and nitrogen acquisition in the competitive interactions between cheatgrass and native rangeland species. The underlying rationale for this research is to identify concepts and management strategies to control cheatgrass and facilitate the restoration of native species on Great Basin rangelands. Specifically, we propose to implement mechanistic studies of plant physiological traits that may account for differences in competitive ability between cheatgrass and native species as well as for why changes in soil N availability may cause shifts in these competitive interactions. These studies focus on physiological traits related to the acquisition of water and N resources from the soil : plant water use and N uptake by roots. Specific objectives are : (1) Determine if physiological traits related to the acquisition of water or N consistently account for differences in competitive ability between cheatgrass and native species. (2) Determine if variation in these physiological traits as soil N availability varies are consistent with changes in the relative competitive ability between cheatgrass and the native species as soil N availability changes. Results from the proposed studies contribute towards the research priority of healthy rangelands for multiple uses in the Great Basin. The proposed research investigates physiological traits that may account for greater competitive ability of native species versus cheatgrass, which in turn can then be exploited to increase the probability of success during restoration efforts. For example, if native species that compete more successfully with cheatgrass have greater N uptake at low N availability, then plant selection and breeding programs for rangeland restoration can target native species or genotypes that exhibit this characteristic. Furthermore, a threshold soil N availability could be established for land managers to use in planning restoration : if certain native species have greater resource acquisition than cheatgrass below a certain level of soil N availability, then managers can target use of those species in areas below the threshold soil N in order to enhance restoration success rates. A third application of results from the planned studies is for maintaining areas that currently are in a good, desirable condition but are in danger of conversion to cheatgrass dominance : land managers can determine if the area has species with the traits we have identified, and then manage the area to maintain those species or implement restoration efforts to reintroduce them. Thus by identifying physiological mechanisms, the results from the proposed studies will have much greater applicability.

Présentation : USDA

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