Demographic, seed and microsite limitations to seedling recruitment in semi-arid mine site restoration

Lucy Elizabeth Commander, Luis Merino-Martín, Carole P. Elliott, Ben P. Miller, Kingsley Dixon, Jason Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims: Understanding limitations to plant recruitment is a key element in devising effective restoration of semi-arid ecosystems: only when these limitations are identified can management interventions be effectively targeted. This study investigated demographic, seed and microsite limitations to establishing native plant species in a semi-arid, post-mining restoration context. Methods: We assessed ex situ and in situ germination and in situ emergence for eight key tree, shrub and annual herb species. We sowed non-treated seeds and seeds that were pre-treated to overcome dormancy, at differing densities and across diverse microsites to assess the roles of dormancy, seed density and microsite type as limiting factors for seedling recruitment. Results: We found that dormancy loss, in situ germination and in situ emergence limited one or more species, and we were able to improve emergence of one species by seed addition and targeted manipulation of microsites. Conclusions: The study has resulted in management implications including the importance of understanding methods to overcome dormancy to maximise germination; identifying key and species-specific demographic transitions; the importance of species-specific testing of seed sowing density; and the potential for increasing emergence by sowing seeds in furrows rather than broadcasting across rises and furrows, or on flat, unripped soil.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant and Soil
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2019

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demographic statistics
seedling
dormancy
seed
germination
furrows
seeds
sowing
seed dormancy
demographic transition
herbs
shrubs
limiting factor
herb
restoration
ecosystems
shrub
methodology
soil
in situ

Cite this

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title = "Demographic, seed and microsite limitations to seedling recruitment in semi-arid mine site restoration",
abstract = "Aims: Understanding limitations to plant recruitment is a key element in devising effective restoration of semi-arid ecosystems: only when these limitations are identified can management interventions be effectively targeted. This study investigated demographic, seed and microsite limitations to establishing native plant species in a semi-arid, post-mining restoration context. Methods: We assessed ex situ and in situ germination and in situ emergence for eight key tree, shrub and annual herb species. We sowed non-treated seeds and seeds that were pre-treated to overcome dormancy, at differing densities and across diverse microsites to assess the roles of dormancy, seed density and microsite type as limiting factors for seedling recruitment. Results: We found that dormancy loss, in situ germination and in situ emergence limited one or more species, and we were able to improve emergence of one species by seed addition and targeted manipulation of microsites. Conclusions: The study has resulted in management implications including the importance of understanding methods to overcome dormancy to maximise germination; identifying key and species-specific demographic transitions; the importance of species-specific testing of seed sowing density; and the potential for increasing emergence by sowing seeds in furrows rather than broadcasting across rises and furrows, or on flat, unripped soil.",
keywords = "Dormancy, Emergence, Germination, Recruitment filters, Seed fate, Seed persistence, Transition model",
author = "Commander, {Lucy Elizabeth} and Luis Merino-Mart{\'i}n and Elliott, {Carole P.} and Miller, {Ben P.} and Kingsley Dixon and Jason Stevens",
year = "2019",
month = "5",
day = "6",
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language = "English",
journal = "Plant and Soil: An International Journal on Plant-Soil Relationships",
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Demographic, seed and microsite limitations to seedling recruitment in semi-arid mine site restoration. / Commander, Lucy Elizabeth; Merino-Martín, Luis; Elliott, Carole P.; Miller, Ben P.; Dixon, Kingsley; Stevens, Jason.

In: Plant and Soil, 06.05.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Demographic, seed and microsite limitations to seedling recruitment in semi-arid mine site restoration

AU - Commander, Lucy Elizabeth

AU - Merino-Martín, Luis

AU - Elliott, Carole P.

AU - Miller, Ben P.

AU - Dixon, Kingsley

AU - Stevens, Jason

PY - 2019/5/6

Y1 - 2019/5/6

N2 - Aims: Understanding limitations to plant recruitment is a key element in devising effective restoration of semi-arid ecosystems: only when these limitations are identified can management interventions be effectively targeted. This study investigated demographic, seed and microsite limitations to establishing native plant species in a semi-arid, post-mining restoration context. Methods: We assessed ex situ and in situ germination and in situ emergence for eight key tree, shrub and annual herb species. We sowed non-treated seeds and seeds that were pre-treated to overcome dormancy, at differing densities and across diverse microsites to assess the roles of dormancy, seed density and microsite type as limiting factors for seedling recruitment. Results: We found that dormancy loss, in situ germination and in situ emergence limited one or more species, and we were able to improve emergence of one species by seed addition and targeted manipulation of microsites. Conclusions: The study has resulted in management implications including the importance of understanding methods to overcome dormancy to maximise germination; identifying key and species-specific demographic transitions; the importance of species-specific testing of seed sowing density; and the potential for increasing emergence by sowing seeds in furrows rather than broadcasting across rises and furrows, or on flat, unripped soil.

AB - Aims: Understanding limitations to plant recruitment is a key element in devising effective restoration of semi-arid ecosystems: only when these limitations are identified can management interventions be effectively targeted. This study investigated demographic, seed and microsite limitations to establishing native plant species in a semi-arid, post-mining restoration context. Methods: We assessed ex situ and in situ germination and in situ emergence for eight key tree, shrub and annual herb species. We sowed non-treated seeds and seeds that were pre-treated to overcome dormancy, at differing densities and across diverse microsites to assess the roles of dormancy, seed density and microsite type as limiting factors for seedling recruitment. Results: We found that dormancy loss, in situ germination and in situ emergence limited one or more species, and we were able to improve emergence of one species by seed addition and targeted manipulation of microsites. Conclusions: The study has resulted in management implications including the importance of understanding methods to overcome dormancy to maximise germination; identifying key and species-specific demographic transitions; the importance of species-specific testing of seed sowing density; and the potential for increasing emergence by sowing seeds in furrows rather than broadcasting across rises and furrows, or on flat, unripped soil.

KW - Dormancy

KW - Emergence

KW - Germination

KW - Recruitment filters

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KW - Transition model

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