Belowground plant communities: seed bank dynamics and relationship to aboveground vegetation in grazing allotment of Klamath County, Oregon
Seed banks are valuable resources for restoration but are understudied. The species present in the aboveground composition influence the seed bank through seed inputs. Land managers utilize herbicides to selectively reduce certain species in the above- and belowground composition. The aim of this paper is to observe and assess the species present in a seed bank post-herbicide application, and to discuss the seed bank potential for future restoration at the specific site in Klamath County, Oregon. Soil core samples were collected in the field and brought to the lab where they were processed and prepared for germination. We watered and monitored propagation trays in a greenhouse for emerging species that were then pulled, transplanted, and identified. We found that a total of 284 seeds germinated, representing 20 species. In contrast, there were 8 species present in the aboveground plant community. Belowground seed bank composition and aboveground species composition were on average 84% dissimilar. Lastly, we found a negative relationship between seed density and litter depth. Management actions, such as herbicide application and targeted grazing, have the potential to reduce exotic aboveground species, and allow for native species in the seed bank to passively join the aboveground composition. This study highlights the need for future management of aboveground undesired species to allow competitive release of seed bank species to emerge.
Environmental Sciences & Management
Environmental Science and Management
Agricultural Science Commons, Environmental Sciences Commons, Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Commons, Other Plant Sciences Commons, Weed Science Commons