Recent seed establishment research in Western Washington Prairies suggests that responses to site preparation, seeding methods and seeding rates are highly variable among sites, species and years. This may not be surprising and indicates that a site-specific, adaptive approach to prairie seeding will be the most successful. Effective adaptive restoration requires good documentation of actions, long term monitoring and regular evaluation of objectives and progress.
Even with the goal of a site-specific restoration strategy the development of one or a few general seeding prescriptions is necessary as a starting place for adaptive restoration. A general seeding prescription also facilitates region-wide planning and estimation necessary for the development of required native seed resources.
The standardization of seeding records and monitoring across land managers allows for the revision and improvement of the general seeding prescriptions and provides solid data for site-specific adaptations to seeding and management strategies.
Researchers and land managers from the South Sound Prairies partnership gathered last month to hear the latest results of on-going seed establishment research and discuss its application to seeding efforts. Dr. Jon Bakker presented the results of stage-scale, adaptive prairie restoration work focused on species specific responses to a variety of site preparations before seeding. Dr. Sarah Hamman presented species specific responses to seeding methods and rates. Dr. Peter Dunwiddie led a discussion on the application of ecological principals to adaptive seeding approaches. Sierra Smith led a discussion on improving the current base seed prescriptions. Bill Kronland presented suggestions for a standardized data collection method and following up monitoring that could support site-specific adaptations for future seeding efforts.
A summary of the day’s information can be found here: South Sound Seeding Prescriptions September 2015