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A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF SPECIES PERFORMANCE AND TREATMENT EFFECTIVENESS FOR REVEGETATION IN THE MOJAVE DESERT, USA $100.00
Authors:  Scott R. Abella and Alice C. Newton
Abstract:
Land managers need ecologically and cost-effective strategies for revegetating arid
lands, such as the Mojave Desert in the southwestern United States. Many disturbances
failed agricultural attempts, grazing by exotic herbivores (e.g., burros, cattle), creating
roads, land clearing for military or mining activities, off-road vehicle use, and wildfires
fueled by exotic grasses have modified or eradicated native vegetation. Natural
revegetation often is slow, or consists of exotic species that do not meet management
objectives. As a result, active revegetation using native species may be required to
accomplish ecological and utilitarian objectives, such as enhancing native plant
communities, curtailing fugitive dust that poses a human health hazard, or establishing
non-flammable vegetation for reducing wildfires. We evaluated the following questions
by systematically reviewing published revegetation studies in the Mojave Desert: (1)
Which species have been most commonly and effectively planted or seeded? (2) Which
treatments have increased plant establishment? (3) What are the relative performances of
planting and seeding, and are these species specific? Fifteen planting studies assessed a
total of 41 species, 33 of them shrubs. None of the nine species planted in ≥ 3 studies
avoided a complete failure (0% survival) in one or more treatments in one or more
studies, but several species (e.g., Larrea tridentata, Atriplex spp.) consistently exhibited
high (> 50%) survival. Fencing, shelters, and irrigation increased survival of some
species, but these treatments require cost/benefit analyses. Though seeding frequently has been discouraged relative to planting, seeding success is species and situational specific.
For example, Baileya multiradiata, Phacelia parishii, Atriplex polycarpa, Penstemon
palmeri, and Penstemon bicolor became established at densities ranging from 3-9
plants/m2 in individual seeding studies. Based on published data, seeding should not be
discounted and warrants additional research as a revegetation option. Our review focused
on the Mojave Desert, but our method of systematic, evidence-based synthesis may be
useful for assessing revegetation options in other arid lands. 


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A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF SPECIES PERFORMANCE AND TREATMENT EFFECTIVENESS FOR REVEGETATION IN THE MOJAVE DESERT, USA