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Reno, NV, United States

Queiroz T.F.D.,826 Delmar Way | Baughman C.,Nature Conservancy of Nevada | Baughman O.,Nature Conservancy of Nevada | Gara M.,Nature Conservancy of Nevada | Williams N.,Nature Conservancy of Nevada
Natural Areas Journal

Sites where edaphic endemic plants have evolved exist in isolated, often small patches throughout the Great Basin. Gypsophytes, plants that live on gypsum soil outcrops, are one group of edaphic endemic plants about which information on localities and habitat requirements is needed. An opportunity to provide some protection to gypsophyte species in White River Valley, Nevada, arose with the revision of Ely BLM's Resource Management Plan. Field surveys to gather locality data were performed in 2005 and 2007, and 1840 new localities were identified. Species distribution modeling can be a useful tool for delineating areas for special management to benefit species of concern. Species distribution model inputs included gypsophyte localities, elevation, slope, aspect, and remotely sensed data on probability of gypsum springmound occurrence. Model outputs were refined using field surveys, and four sites with gypsum springmounds with BLM sensitive-status gypsophytes for Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) status were proposed. These four sites have since been designated, and provide some degree of protection to gypsophytes, though the scattered, isolated nature of gypsum springmounds and other edaphic endemic plant habitats highlights the importance of the use of rare plant locality point data, as well as remotely sensed data and field surveys by land management agency staff in carrying out National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) planning for projects that have the potential to harm rare plant populations. Source

Baughman C.,Nature Conservancy of Nevada | Forbis T.A.,Nature Conservancy of Nevada | Forbis T.A.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Provencher L.,Nature Conservancy of Nevada
Invasive Plant Science and Management

In the Great Basin of the western United States, expansion of Pinus monophylla (singleleaf piñyon) and Juniperus osteosperma (Utah juniper) out of historic woodlands and into Artemisia spp. (sagebrush) shrubland communities can facilitate the invasion of exotic downy brome (Bromus tectorum) and lead to decreases in ecological and economic values of shrublands. This expansion has, therefore, been the focus of management efforts, including the thinning or removal of trees in areas that were historically shrubland. Our study examined the effects of tree thinning at two sites located in eastern Nevada, near the center of the Great Basin. Such projects can be controversial, so our goal was to estimate and document the ecological effects of low-disturbance tree thinning at these two sites. Both sites were mechanically thinned using a feller-buncher and were aerially seeded with native grasses. Aerial seeding had no apparent effect at either site. The site that had lower tree cover before treatment (Ely, NV) showed an increase in native forbs and a small increase in invasives. The site that initially had very high tree cover and low shrub cover (Mt. Wilson, NV) showed increases in native forbs and species diversity and a substantial increase in invasives. We conclude that low-disturbance methods for thinning encroaching trees can have positive ecological effects in shrublands but that the initial cover of both trees and native herbaceous species should be considered to determine the potential of the site to recover naturally from the seedbank and the risk of invasion by downy brome. © 2010 Weed Science Society of America. Source

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