Presence of a wetted edge during the period of seedfall was an effective predictor of suitable establishment (defined as germination and survival to the 1st autumn) locations for Populus deltoides subsp. monilifera, Salix amygdaloides, S. exigua, and Tamarix ramosissima seedlings during 3 successive years of a gravel pit revegetation project in Fort Collins, Colorado. At locations predicted to be suitable for establishment, position within the pit (possibly reflecting additional moisture provided by seepage) was a significant factor in determining whether establishment actually occurred. Cover of herbaceous species, which became established at the same time as, or after, woody seedlings, was positively related to probability of establishment for 8 of 11 species-year combinations, probably reflecting more favorable moisture conditions at certain locations. Herbaceous cover also was positively related to seedling height at the end of the 1st summer of growth for 9 of 11 species-year combinations. Neither establishment nor 1st-summer growth was consistently related to overall decline in the water table as estimated by the drop in surface-water level during the growing season. Flooding in the 1st spring after establishment was negatively related to subsequent survival for 5 of 8 species-year combinations. The 4 species established at different elevations in the pit, depending on location of the wetted edge during the period of seedfall, and there was no evidence that differential mortality subsequently altered their distribution along the elevation gradient. However, the primary objective in this study was to restore native woody species, and we attempted to maintain conditions conducive to meeting this objective. Differential postestablishment mortality may be more important in structuring the riparian community in more rigorous riverine environments.
Roelle, James E.; Gladwin, Douglas N.; and Cade, Brian S.
"Establishment, growth, and early survival of woody riparian apecies at a Colorado gravel pit,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 61
, Article 5.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol61/iss2/5