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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2019

(SEED-)BANKING ON A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE : RANGELAND RESILIENCE TO CLIMATE VARIABILITY THROUGH STORED RESPONSE DIVERSITY

Seed Rangeland Climate

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Titre : (SEED-)BANKING ON A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE : RANGELAND RESILIENCE TO CLIMATE VARIABILITY THROUGH STORED RESPONSE DIVERSITY

Identification : COLW-2018-07777

Pays : Etats Unis

Durée : START : 01 MAY 2019 // TERM : 30 APR 2021

Résumé
With forecasts calling for more frequent extreme rainfall events, drought-resilient operations and land management are at the forefront of agricultural research needs. Despite widespread efforts tracking forage responses in rain-fed rangelands, the mechanisms underlying vegetative responses, and thus our ability to manage them, remain underdeveloped. An ecological theory - the storage effect - suggests that plant persistence in variable environments requires two key mechanisms : occasional regeneration during favorable years (which differ from species to species), and the ability to store individuals during unfavorable years (e.g., as seeds in the seedbank). This project explores the idea that response diversity in the seedbank (i.e. a range of plant species that collectively experience different conditions as favorable for recruitment) could be a critical, underutilized component of forage resilience and recovery under rainfall variability - particularly if it can be managed via accessible tools (grazing, seeding).In a factorial field experiment manipulating rainfall, timing of cattle grazing, and seeding (mixes minimizing or maximizing response diversity), I ask : (1) How does cattle grazing influence resilience of forage production under rainfall variability, and is this mediated through effects on plant recruitment and seedbank storage ? (2) Can managing for diverse response strategies in the seedbank enhance rangeland resilience and recovery ? To implement this project, I partner with the City of Boulder (Colorado), who manage grazing on 15,000 public grassland acres where the study occurs. I will incorporate personal interactions with these land managers, as well as local ranchers, academics, and undergraduate students in the field of ecology to develop and disseminate tangible management recommendations based on findings. By characterizing the variation in seed and plant responses to extreme climate events and different grazing practices, we will be able to improve predictions of how more extreme dry years will affect plant recruitment, seedbank dynamics, and overall forage production, and how to manage grazing to mitigate these effects. We will also develop decision tools to help determine for when and how investing in the seedbank (e.g., via seeding) is likely to have the greatest returns for forage stability.

Performing Institution : UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO BOULDER, COLORADO 80309
Investigator : Larson, J.

Financement : $120,000

Présentation : USDA (NIFA)

Page publiée le 21 décembre 2019