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    Description

    Slope stabilization treatments are frequently applied following high severity wildfires to reduce erosion, protect water quality, and mitigate threats to human life and property. However, the effectiveness of many treatment options has not been well established. Furthermore, treatments may unintentionally inhibit natural vegetation recovery or facilitate exotic species invasion, compromising long-term ecosystem function. We evaluated the effects of seeding and fertilization treatments on plant cover and vegetation recovery following the Deer Point fire in the Eastern Cascade Mountains of Washington State, surveying vegetation for three consecutive years following fire. We applied a fertilization treatment and two seeding treatments in factorial combination on experimental plots at four sites within the fire. Natural vegetation recovered rapidly on control plots, exceeding 40%average cover the second post-fire year and 53% cover the third year. Seeding and fertilization, applied alone and together, did little to increase total plant cover in any of the three post-fire years. A seed mix containing mostly native species increased seeded species cover, but failed to increase in total plant cover, as reductions in non-seeded species cover largely offset increases in seeded species cover. The seed mix also reduced the cover and frequency of several disturbance-adapted native species and reduced tree seedling abundance by the third year after fire. Exotic species averaged less than 0.5% cover across all treatments, and were not significantly affected by any treatment. Minimal treatment effects on total plant cover suggest that seeding and fertilization did little to reduce erosion hazards. However, seeding with the species mix did interfere with natural vegetation recovery, despite the use of native species and low realized seeded species cover.

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    Citation

    Dodson, Erich K.; Peterson, David W. 2009. Seeding and fertilization effects on plant cover and community recovery following wildfire in the Eastern Cascade Mountains, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 258: 1586-1593.

    Keywords

    erosion, conservation, diversity, exotic, invasion, resilience

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/34861