Assessing long-term risks of prairie seed harvest: What is the role of life-history?
Extinction risk, Grasslands, Life history, Matrix models, Seed harvest, Tallgrass prairie
To meet the demand for more and larger tallgrass prairie restorations, seed is frequently collected en-masse from remnant native plant populations. Overharvesting of seed may lead to population extinctions, but these risks are not well studied. Species’ reproductive strategies may provide a basis for risk assessment. We assessed extinction risks associated with seed harvest for grassland plant species with different reproductive strategies (clonal vs. non-clonal). Using stage-based matrix models, we projected the extinction risk for two clonal and four non-clonal prairie species subjected to five harvest scenarios: (i) no harvest, (ii and iii) annual harvest at low/high intensity (50% and 75% seeds removed), and (iv and v) triennial harvest at low/high intensity. We compared the magnitude of growth or decline (λ) and mean extinction risk among populations during a 25-year modeling period. Non-clonal species were robust to triennial and low-intensity harvest, but susceptible to decreases in population growth (λ) up to 0.5 and elevated extinction risks up to 95% with high intensity annual harvest. Clonal species were unaffected by seed harvest, owing to a compensatory effect of vegetative propagation on growth rates. To maintain populations of non-clonal species in remnant grasslands, high intensity annual harvest should be avoided.
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Meissen, Justin C.; Galatowitsch, Susan M.; and Cornett, Meredith W., "Assessing long-term risks of prairie seed harvest: What is the role of life-history?" (2017). Faculty Publications. 962.