The University of Arizona

Species composition on reclaimed ski runs compared with unseeded areas.

R.J. Van Ommeren

Abstract


The cover of native and non-native introduced plants was compared between seeded (reclaimed) ski runs and adjacent or nearby unseeded (control) areas at a managed ski area in northern Arizona to determine the potential effects of revegetation efforts on plant species composition of the area. Although vegetative cover was similar, plant species richness was significantly lower on reclaimed ski runs compared with control areas. At 3 of 4 sites, the number of plant species was more than 2-fold greater in control areas, although species richness was similar between control and reclaimed areas at 1 site. The proportion of native species was more than 3-fold greater in control areas compared with reclaimed ski runs. The proportion of non-native species was more than 5-fold greater on reclaimed ski runs than in control areas. Although sites differed substantially in time since seeding, no evidence was found at 3 of the 4 sites for either an invasion of non-native species into the native plant community, or significant re-establishment of native species in reclaimed areas. Relatively high biomass of native species on a reclaimed ski run at 1 site appeared to be tied to a low level of initial disturbance and favorable conditions for growth. Results suggested that minimizing initial soil disturbance, retaining topsoil, and maintaining islands or patches of natural vegetation within cleared areas promoted the re-establishment of native species on ski runs.

DOI:10.2458/azu_jrm_v54i3_van_ommeren


Keywords


sowing;disturbed soils;skiing;topsoil;soil degradation;ground cover;grasslands;reclamation;species diversity;introduced species;botanical composition;Arizona

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