The University of Arizona

Perspectives and processes in revegetation of arid and semiarid rangelands.

C.A. Call, B.A. Roundy

Abstract


Range revegetation research has been dominated by empirical studies that provide some information about what works or does not work under a given set of conditions, but tell us little or nothing about the underlying ecological processes. Research has emphasized the establishment of vigorous exotic grasses on specific sites rather than the establishment of persistent, biologically diverse plant communities. A more mechanistic research approach is needed to better understand factors governing germination, seedling establishment, and plant community development in natural and synthetic systems to guide revegetation toward biological diversity. This paper evaluates selected aspects of the present knowledge of revegetation science on arid and semiarid lands, and attempts to identify areas for future research direction. Specific concepts and aspects of succession and plant community development, such as seedbed ecology, temporal and spatial patterns of resource availability and use, species life history traits, and species interactions are important areas of research. Continuous measurement of detailed environmental and biological data at the appropriate scale (down to the size of small seeds) will allow development of mechanistic models which can be used to predict plant establishment and community development for different environmental conditions.

Keywords


semiarid grasslands;ecological succession;land restoration;rangelands

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