Advertisement

Composition of soil seed banks in southern California coastal sage scrub and adjacent exotic grassland

  • 508 Accesses

  • 41 Citations

Abstract

Soil seed banks are important to many plant communities and are recognized as an important component of management plans. Understanding seed bank composition and density is especially important when communities have been invaded by exotic species and must be managed to promote desirable species. We examined germinable soil seed banks in southern California coastal sage scrub (CSS) that is heavily invaded by exotic grasses and in adjacent exotic grassland. Soils from both communities had similar seed banks, dominated by high densities of exotic grass and forb species. Up to 4,000 exotic grass seeds and at least 400 exotic forb seeds/m2 were found in most soils, regardless of aboveground vegetation type. Native forbs averaged 400 seeds/m2 in grass-dominated areas and about 800 in shrub-dominated soils. Shrub seed density was <1 and <10 seeds/m2 in grass- and shrub-dominated areas, respectively, indicating that the shrub seed bank is not persistent compared to annuals. We also compared pre- and post-burn soil seed banks from one location that burned in October 2003. Late-season burning in both grass- and CSS-dominated areas disproportionately reduced exotic grass seed densities relative to native seed densities. The similarity of the seed banks in adjacent grass and shrub communities suggests that without intervention, areas currently dominated by CSS may become more similar to grass-dominated areas in terms of aboveground vegetation. In such areas, the first growing season following a wildfire is a window of opportunity for increasing native diversity at a time when density of exotic grass seeds is low.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  1. Allen EB, Cox RD, Tennant T et al (2005) Landscape restoration in southern California forblands: response of abandoned farmland to invasive annual grass control. Israel J Plant Sci 53:237–245

  2. Angoa-Roman M, Bullock SH, Kawashima T (2005) Composition and dynamics of the seed bank of coastal scrub in Baja California. Madroño 52:11–20

  3. Auld TD, Denham AJ (2006) How much seed remains in the soil after a fire? Plant Ecol 187:15–24

  4. Bowler PA (1990) Coastal sage scrub restoration—I. The challenge of mitigation. Restor Manage Notes 8:78–82

  5. Bowler PA (2000) Ecological restoration of coastal sage scrub and its potential role in habitat conservation plans. Environ Manage 26(supp):S85–S86

  6. California Native Plant Society (CNPS) (2001) Inventory of rare and endangered plants of California (6 edn). California Native Plant Society, Sacramento

  7. Cardina J, Sparrow DH (1996) A comparison of methods to predict weed seedling populations from the soil seed bank. Weed Sci 44:46–51

  8. Chambers JC, MacMahon JA (1994) A day in the life of a seed: movements and fates of seeds and their implications for natural and managed systems. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 25:263–292

  9. Cione NK, Padgett PE, Allen EB (2002) Restoration of a native shrubland impacted by exotic grasses, frequent fire, and nitrogen deposition in southern California. Restor Ecol 10:376–384

  10. Coates TD (2003) The effect of concentrated smoke products on the restoration of highly disturbed mineral sands in southeast Victoria. Ecol Manage Restor 4:133–139

  11. Coffin DP, Lauenroth WK (1989) Spatial and temporal variation in the seed bank of semiarid grassland. Am J Bot 76:53–58

  12. D’Antonio CM, Vitousek PM (1992) Biological invasions by exotic grasses, the grass/fire cycle, and global change. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 23:63–87

  13. DeSimone S (1995) California’s coastal sage scrub. Fremontia 23:3–8

  14. Devictor V, Moret J, Machon N (in press) Impact of ploughing on soil seed bank dynamics in temporary pools. Plant Ecol. doi:10.1007/s11258-006-9225-1

  15. DiTomaso JM (2000) Invasive weeds in rangelands: species, impacts, and management. Weed Sci 48:255–265

  16. DiTomaso JM, Kyser GB, Hastings MS (1999) Prescribed burning for control of yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) and enhanced native plant diversity. Weed Sci 47:233–242

  17. DiTomaso JM, Brooks ML, Allen EB et al (2006) Control of invasive weeds with prescribed burning. Weed Technol 20:535–548

  18. Fahnestock JT, Larsen DL, Plumb GE, Detling JK (2003) Effects of ungulates and prairie dogs on seed banks and vegetation in a North American mixed-grass prairie. Plant Ecol 167:255–268

  19. Fenn ME, Baron JS, Allen EB et al (2003) Ecological effects of nitrogen deposition in the western United States. BioScience 53:404–420

  20. Gillespie IG, Allen EB (2004) Fire and competition in a southern California grassland: impacts on the rare forb Erodium macrophyllum. J Appl Ecol 41:643–652

  21. Henderson CB, Peterson KE, Redak RA (1988) Spatial and temporal patterns in the seed bank and vegetation of a desert grassland community. J Ecol 76:717–728

  22. Hesse E, Rees M, Müller-Schärer H (2007) Seed bank persistence of clonal weeds in contrasting habitats: implications for control. Plant Ecol 190:233–243

  23. Hickman JC (1993) The Jepson manual: higher plants of California. UC Press, Berkeley

  24. Hill SJ, French K (2003) Response of the soil seed-bank of Cumberland Plain woodland to heating. Austral Ecol 28:14–22

  25. Holl KD, Steele HN, Fusari MH, Fox LR (2000) Seed banks of maritime chaparral and abandoned roads: potential for vegetation recovery. J Torrey Bot Soc 127:207–220

  26. Holmes PM, Newton RJ (2004) Patterns of seed persistence in South African fynbos. Plant Ecol 172:143–158

  27. Ishikawa-Goto M, Tsuyuzaki S (2004) Methods of estimating seed banks with reference to long-term seed burial. J Plant Res 117:245–248

  28. James CS, Capon SJ, White MG et al (2007) Spatial variability of the soil seed bank in a heterogeneous ephemeral wetland system in semi-arid Australia. Plant Ecol 190:205–217

  29. Keddy PA, Wisheu IC, Shipley B, Gaudet C (1989) Seed banks and vegetation management for conservation: toward predictive community ecology. In: Leck MA, Parker VT, Simpson RL (eds) Ecology of soil seedbanks. Academic Press, San Diego

  30. Keeley JE (1986) Resilience of Mediterranean shrub communities to fires. In: Dell B, Hopkins AJM, Lamont BB (eds) Resilience in Mediterranean-type ecosystems. Dr. W. Junk, Dordrecht

  31. Keeley JE (1987) Role of fire in seed germination of woody taxa in California chaparral. Ecology 68:434–443

  32. Keeley JE, Keeley SC (1984) Postfire recovery of California coastal sage scrub. Am Midl Nat 111:105–117

  33. Keeley JE, Keeley SC (1987) Role of fire in the germination of chaparral herbs and suffrutescents. Madroño 34:240–249

  34. Klopatek JM, Oson RJ, Emerson CJ, Jones JL (1979) Land use conflicts with natural vegetation in the United States. Environ Conserv 6:191–199

  35. Mack MC, D’Antonio CM (1998) Impacts of biological invasions on disturbance regimes. Trends Ecol Evol 13:195–198

  36. Mack RN (1981) Invasion of Bromus tectorum L. into western North America: an ecological chronicle. Agro-Ecosystems 7:145–165

  37. Major J, Pyott WT (1966) Buried, viable seeds in two California bunchgrass sites and their bearing on the definition of a flora. Vegetatio 13:253–282

  38. Meyer MD, Schiffman PM (1999) Fire season and mulch reduction in a California grassland: a comparison of restoration strategies. Madroño 46: 25–37

  39. Minnich RA, Dezzani RJ (1998) Historical decline of coastal sage scrub in the Riverside-Perris plain, California. Western Birds 29:366–391

  40. Mueggler WF (1956) Is sagebrush seed residual in the soil of burns or is it windborne? U.S. Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station Research Note 35

  41. Navie SC, Panetta FD, McFadyen RE, Adkins SW (2004) Germinable soil seedbanks of central Queensland rangelands invaded by the exotic weed Parthenium hysterophorus L. Weed Biol Manag 4:154–167

  42. Olano JM, Caballero I, Loidi J, Escudero A (2005) Prediction of plant cover from seed bank analysis in a semi-arid plant community on gypsum. J Veg Sci 16:215–222

  43. O'Leary J (1995) Coastal sage scrub: threats and current status. Fremontia 23:27–31

  44. O'Leary J, Murphy D, Brussard P (1992) The coastal sage scrub community conservation planning region. Natural community conservation planning/coastal sage scrub special report no 2. California Environmental Trust, San Francisco

  45. Parker VT, Kelly VR (1989) Seed banks in California chaparral and other mediterranean climate shrublands. In: Leck MA, Parker VT, Simpson RL (eds) Ecology of soil seedbanks. Academic Press, San Diego

  46. Pellant M, Abbey B, Karl S (2004) Restoring the Great Basin desert, U.S.A.: integrating science, management, and people. Environ Monit Assess 99:169–179

  47. Pimentel D, Zuniga R, Morrison D (2005) Update on the environmental and economic costs associated with alien-invasive species in the United States. Ecol Econ 52:273–288

  48. Roberts HA (1981) Seed banks in soils. Adv Appl Biol 6:1–55

  49. Robertson HA, James KR (2007) Plant establishment from the seed bank of a degraded floodplain wetland: a comparison of two alternative management scenarios. Plant Ecol 188:145–164

  50. Roche S, Dixon KW, Pate JS (1998) For everything a season: smoke-induced seed germination and seedling recruitment in a Western Australian Banksia woodland. Aust J Ecol 23:111–120

  51. Roovers P, Bossuyt B, Igodt B, Hermy M (2006) May seed banks contribute to vegetation restoration on paths in temperate deciduous forest? Plant Ecol 187:25–38

  52. Rubinoff D (2001) Evaluating the California gnatcatcher as an umbrella species for conservation of Southern California coastal sage scrub. Conserv Biology 15:1374–1783

  53. SAS Institute (2006) JMP statistics and graphics guide. Cary, NC

  54. Seabloom EW, Harpole WS, Reichman OJ, Tilman D (2003) Invasion, competitive dominance, and resource use by exotic and native California grassland species. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100:13384–13389

  55. Simpson RL, Leck MA, Parker VT (1989) Seedbanks: general concepts and methodological issues. In: Leck MA, Parker VT, Simpson RL (eds) Ecology of soil seedbanks. Academic Press, San Diego

  56. Sirulnik AG, Allen EB, Meixner T et al (2007) Changes in N cycling and microbial N with elevated N in exotic annual grasslands of southern California. Appl Soil Ecol 36:1–9

  57. Syphard AD, Clarke KC, Franklin J (2007) Simulating fire frequency and urban growth in southern California coastal shrublands, USA. Landscape Ecol 22:431–445

  58. Templeton AR, Levin DA (1979) Evolutionary consequences of seed pools. Am Nat 114:232–249

  59. van der Valk AG, Pederson RL (1989) Seed banks and the management and restoration of natural vegetation. In: Leck MA, Parker VT, Simpson RL (eds) Ecology of soil seedbanks. Academic Press, San Diego

  60. Wearne LJ, Morgan JW (2006) Shrub invasion into subalpine vegetation: implications for restoration of the native ecosystem. Plant Ecol 183:361–376

  61. Westman WE (1981) Diversity relations and succession in California coastal sage scrub. Ecology 62:170–184

  62. Westman WE (1983) Xeric Mediterranean-type shrubland associations of Alta and Baja California and the community/continuum debate. Vegetatio 52:3–19

  63. Westman WE (1985) Air pollution injury to coastal sage scrub in the Santa Monica Mountains, Southern California. Water Air Soil Pollut 26:19–41

  64. Westman WE (1987) Implications of ecological theory for rare plant conservation in coastal sage scrub. In: Elias TS (ed) Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants: proceedings of a California conference on the conservation and management of rare and endangered plants. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento

  65. Wilson SD, Bakker JD, Christian JM et al (2004) Semiarid old-field restoration: Is neighbor control needed? Ecol Appl 14:476–484

  66. Young JA, Evans RA, Larson JR (1981) Germinable seeds and periodicity of germination in annual grasslands. Hilgardia 49:1–35

  67. Zammit C, Zedler PH (1988) The influence of dominant shrubs, fire, and time since fire on soil seed banks in mixed chaparral. Vegetatio 75:175–187

  68. Zammit C, Zedler PH (1994) Organisation of the soil seed bank in mixed chaparral. Vegetatio 111:1–16

  69. Zedler PH, Gautier CR, McMaster GS (1983) Vegetation change in response to extreme events: the effect of a short interval between fires in California chaparral and coastal sage scrub. Ecology 64:809–818

  70. Zink TA, Allen MF, Heindl-Tenhunen BI, Allen EB (1995) The effect of a disturbance corridor on an ecological reserve. Restor Ecol 3:304–311

Download references

Acknowledgments

Christine Moen, Tom Ash, Jud Monroe, and others at the Shipley Multi-species Habitat Reserve were helpful in providing locations for this study. Rob Lennox of the UC Riverside Botany and Plant Sciences Department was instrumental in arranging for glasshouse space and logistics. We are thankful to the UC Riverside Center for Conservation Biology for support. We also thank Jodie Holt and Richard Minnich for comments on previous versions of this manuscript. This project was funded in part by the Shipley-Skinner Endowment to the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and by NSF DEB 04-21530.

Author information

Correspondence to Robert D. Cox.

Additional information

At time of research, Robert D. Cox was graduate student.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Cox, R.D., Allen, E.B. Composition of soil seed banks in southern California coastal sage scrub and adjacent exotic grassland. Plant Ecol 198, 37 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-007-9383-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Bromus
  • Disturbance
  • Ecological management
  • Erodium
  • Invasive species
  • Wildfire