skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Self-revegetation of disturbed ground in the deserts of Nevada and Washington

Abstract

Plant cover established without purposeful soil preparation or seeding was measured on ground disturbed by plowing in Washington and by aboveground nuclear explosions in Nevada. After a time lapse of three decades in Washington and two decades in Nevada, fewer species were self-established on the disturbed ground than the nearby undisturbed ground. Alien annual plants were the dominants on the disturbed ground. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) dominated abandoned fields in Washington, and filaree (Erodium cicutarium) dominated disturbed ground in Nevada. Perennial grasses and shrubs appeared to be more successful as invaders in Nevada than in Washington. This distinction is attributed to the superior competitive ability of cheatgrass in Washington.

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Battelle Pacific Northwest Lab., Richland, WA
OSTI Identifier:
6304116
DOE Contract Number:
AC06-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Northwest Sci.; (United States); Journal Volume: 56:1
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; DESERTS; REVEGETATION; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DISTURBANCES; ECOLOGY; GRASS; GROUND COVER; NEVADA; NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS; POPULATIONS; SHRUBS; SOILS; WASHINGTON; ARID LANDS; EXPLOSIONS; FEDERAL REGION IX; FEDERAL REGION X; NORTH AMERICA; PLANTS; USA; 510100* - Environment, Terrestrial- Basic Studies- (-1989)

Citation Formats

Rickard, W.H., and Sauer, R.H. Self-revegetation of disturbed ground in the deserts of Nevada and Washington. United States: N. p., 1982. Web.
Rickard, W.H., & Sauer, R.H. Self-revegetation of disturbed ground in the deserts of Nevada and Washington. United States.
Rickard, W.H., and Sauer, R.H. Fri . "Self-revegetation of disturbed ground in the deserts of Nevada and Washington". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_6304116,
title = {Self-revegetation of disturbed ground in the deserts of Nevada and Washington},
author = {Rickard, W.H. and Sauer, R.H.},
abstractNote = {Plant cover established without purposeful soil preparation or seeding was measured on ground disturbed by plowing in Washington and by aboveground nuclear explosions in Nevada. After a time lapse of three decades in Washington and two decades in Nevada, fewer species were self-established on the disturbed ground than the nearby undisturbed ground. Alien annual plants were the dominants on the disturbed ground. Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) dominated abandoned fields in Washington, and filaree (Erodium cicutarium) dominated disturbed ground in Nevada. Perennial grasses and shrubs appeared to be more successful as invaders in Nevada than in Washington. This distinction is attributed to the superior competitive ability of cheatgrass in Washington.},
doi = {},
journal = {Northwest Sci.; (United States)},
number = ,
volume = 56:1,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 1982},
month = {Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 1982}
}
  • The low quality dolomite rock from Abu-Rawash, Giza, was reacted with sulfuric acid to prepare a compound fertilizer comprising all secondary nutrient and micronutrient elements. The fertilizer product was mixed with 20 weight percent of ground bentonite ore, and was granulated using potassium sulfate solution as binder. Application of the new fertilizer for cultivating maize in sandy soil was very effective in improving the morphology of the plant. The compound fertilizer is recommended for reclamation of sandy soil.
  • The revegetation of disturbed, arid lands is one of the great challenges of a desert. An attempt to encourage it is not an impossible task, however, if the natural and the man-made resources available are utilized and managed. Where rainfall and temperature conditions approach or exceed those of the Great Basin desert, restoration of disturbed land will occur through natural revegetation processes within a reasonable period of time. This is not generally the case in the more arid Mojave Desert areas where the moisture and temperature conditions are less favorable for germination and seedling survival. Restoration of vegetation by naturalmore » reseeding can, however, occur within local sites where moisture has concentrated as the result of terrain features forming catchment basins. Otherwise, the natural revegetation processes in the Mojave Desert areas require much longer periods of time (possibly decades or centuries) than are practical for meeting environmental protection standards imposed by current legislation. Through better understanding of the processes governing revegetation and the ability to control them, it is possible for man to more rapidly restore disturbed desert lands. Terrain manipulation to form moisture catchment basins, selection of seed from pioneering shrub species, preservation of existing shrub clump fertile islands in the soil, supplemental fertilization, irrigation, organic amendments, and transplanting vigorous shrub species are some of the important things that can be done to help restore disturbed desert land.« less
  • The northern Mojave Desert, as are many deserts, is characterized in part by small fertile islands in which exist individual shrub clumps each containing two or more plants. These fertile sites promote characteristic organization of both plant and animal activity in the desert. Destruction of these fertile sites make revegetation extremely difficult because most seedlings germinate in these sites. Some pioneer species do, however, germinate and survive in the bare areas between the fertile sites. Four such species in the northern Mojave Desert are Acamptopappus shockleyi Gray, Lepidium fremontii Wats., Sphaeralcea ambigua Gray, and Atriplex confertifolia (Torr. and Frem.) Wats.more » These four-species may have a role in starting new fertile islands.« less
  • Desert sites with a history of seismic stability were studied for storage of radioactive wastes because of the attractive meteorology, proven longterm geological stability, and distance from human population centers. Specific deserts were to be representative of various kinds of world deserts, if substantial information about each desert was available, to examine with respect to transporting, handling, storing, and cooling the radioactive waste, and the site suitability as to geological conditions, water availability, alternative land use, airborne emissions of heat, accidental radioactive emission, and possible socioeonomic impacts. No significant technical obstacles to the use of the world deserts as sitesmore » for a retrievable storage facility for 500 years were found. However, given the relatively low level of effort that was allocated between the many technical issues listed above, this study is neither a full risk assessment nor a full environmental impact analysis of such a facility. Assessments for siting the facility were made for five deserts, chosen to be representative of Old World, New World, Australian, interior, coastal, foggy, hot and cold: the Nullarbor Plain of Australia, the Namib in Africa, the Great Basin of the United States represented by the Nevada Test Site, the North Slope of Alaska and Canada, and the Egyptian desert.« less
  • Feature article:The spread of the Sahara Desert and the resulting famine in countries of western Africa brought desertification to public attention. Desert encroachment is most obvious in Africa, but is occurring throughout the world's arid zones. The major world regions where desertification has become a problem are reviewed. Possible causes of this phenomenon are climatic change and destructive land use patterns, such as deforestation and erosion of cropland. One estimate of the extent of desertification classifies 6.7% of the earth's surface as anthropogenic desertland. The African drought of the 1970's focused attention on the unexploited food-producing potential of arid zones.more » Desert agriculture and culture must be geared to the driest years rather than to years of adequate rainfall. Social causes and consequences of desertification are examined, and potential solutions are discussed. (1 map, 7 photos)« less