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Title: Natural succession impeded by smooth brome (Bromus inermis) and intermediate wheatgrass (Agropyron intermedium) in an abandoned agricultural field

In 1975, an abandoned agricultural field at Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site (Site) that had been cultivated for more than 38 years, was seeded with smooth brome (Bromus inermis) and intermediate wheatgrass (Agropyron intermedium). Although these species are commonly planted in reclamation and roadside seed mixtures, few studies have documented their impact on the re-establishment of native plant communities. In 1994, species richness, cover, and biomass were sampled in the agricultural field and compared to the surrounding mixed-grass prairie at the Site. The agricultural field contained only 61 plant species (62% native), compared to 143 species (81% native) in the surrounding mixed-grass prairie. Community similarity based on species presence/absence was 0.47 (Sorensen coefficient of similarity). Basal vegetative cover was 11.2% in the agricultural field and 29.1% in the mixed-grass prairie. Smooth brome and intermediate wheatgrass accounted for 93% of the relative foliar cover and 96% of the biomass in the agricultural field. The aggressive nature of these two planted species has impeded the natural succession of the agricultural field to a more native prairie community. Studies of natural succession on abandoned fields and roads in northeastern Colorado have indicated that if left alone, fields would return to their native climaxmore » state in approximately 50 years and would be approaching their native state after 20--25 years. Based on the results of this study, this agricultural field may take more than 100 years to return to a native mixed-grass prairie state and it may never achieve a native state without human intervention.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. PTI Environmental Services, Boulder, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
548679
Report Number(s):
RFP--5137; CONF-971165--
ON: DE98000626; BR: EW2062020; TRN: AHC29724%%80
DOE Contract Number:
AC34-90DP62349
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 1997 international conference on ecological restoration and regional conservation strategies, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (United States), 12-15 Nov 1997; Other Information: PBD: [1997]
Research Org:
EG and G Rocky Flats, Inc., Golden, CO (United States). Rocky Flats Plant
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Environmental Restoration and Waste Management, Washington, DC (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; LAND RECLAMATION; ROCKY FLATS PLANT; ECOLOGICAL SUCCESSION; POPULATION DYNAMICS; SPECIES DIVERSITY; GRAMINEAE