Implications for reintroduction of an endangered limestone endemic: Lessons from field and greenhouse germination tests.
MASCHINSKI, J.* 1, J.E.BAGGS 1 and C.F.SACCHI 2
The Arboretum at Flagstaff Flagstaff AZ 86001 USA 1
Kutztown University Kutztown PA 19530 USA 2
Endangered species with restricted and threatened habitats may only persist if they can expand their ranges. The existing distribution of the endangered Arizona cliffrose (Purshia subintegra) in the Sonoran desertscrub suggested that habitat specificity was great; most individuals grow on Verde Formation Pliocene limestone mesas and associated first order drainages. Distinct plant community and soil changes from the tops of the mesas to the valleys suggested that soil qualities might be one factor responsible for this pattern. In 1998, we conducted greenhouse and field germination tests in 3 distinct habitats. Both studies indicated that Arizona cliffrose seeds can germinate and survive off of the mesa tops and do not require limestone mesa-top soils to germinate. However, in the field, germination was significantly more successful and mortality was significantly lower on the limestone mesas than in the 2 other habitats tested. Soil moisture had the most significant influence on the pattern of seedling survival we observed in the field. Thus, to effectively increase the population of Purshia subintegra we predict that successful reintroduction can only occur in areas where soil moisture is maintained above 10% for 10 months of the year until plants are well-established.
Keywords: endangered, endemic, reintroduction
This abstract is being presented at: 11:15 AM in session:
Oral Session #2: Conservation Ecology.