British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposia

Evaluation and selection of native woody plants for reclamation in the Eastern Slopes of Alberta King, Philip James; Russell, W. B.; Grainger, George; Straka, A. 1981

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 Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation              EVALUATION AND SELECTION OF NATIVE WOODY PLANTS FOR RECLAMATION IN THE EASTERN SLOPES OF ALBERTA by P.J. King and W.B. Russell Reforestation and Reclamation Branch Alberta Forest Service Department of Energy and Natural Resources Edmonton, Alberta G. Grainger and A. Straka Alberta Tree Nursery and Horticultural Centre Alberta Agriculture Oliver, Alberta           173  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation EVALUATION AND SELECTION OF NATIVE WOODY PLANTS  FOR RECLAMATION IN THE EASTERN SLOPES OF ALBERTA ABSTRACT Native trees and shrubs offer advantages for use in reclaiming to land uses such as timber production, wildlife habitat, slope stabilization, and recreational use. However, lack of specific information on their ecological requirements, propagation, and outplanting performance has restricted their use in reclamation to date in the Eastern Slopes of Alberta. This program is designed to address such restrictions to operational woody plant use. It is to examine site requirements for the twenty-four candidate woody plant species, identify and test their required germina-tion pre-treatments (for seed propagation), field test the species in the Eastern Slopes region, and formulate prescriptions for their estab-lishment and maintenance. For the candidate species the results of the program to date are pre-sented. These include the summary of an ecological field survey and review, a land use matrix, seed collection guidelines, summary of a seed pre-treatment review, and the findings which have been completed to date of a seed testing project for difficult-to-germinate candidate species. The general objectives of future work in the program are also discussed. INTRODUCTION To date native woody plant species have been underutilized in the reclamation of disturbed sites on the Eastern Slopes of Alberta. We presently lack both a coherent experimental data base on many species and direct experience in their use for reclamation. A programme was established to address these deficiencies for a number of native trees and shrubs. DESCRIPTION OF THE STUDY AREA The Eastern Slopes region of Alberta, illustrated in Figure 1, occupies approximately 90,650 km2 of the Rocky Mountains and Rocky Mountain Foothills. The climatic regimes of the area are characterized variously 175  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation FIGURE 1 THE ALBERTA EASTERN SLOPES  WATERTON   LAKES3 NAT PARK 176  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation as Cordilleran and Boreal. Vegetation regions include the fescue grass, aspen parkland, subalpine, montane alpine, boreal foothills, and boreal uplands associations. Important land uses involve both renewable (water, timber, range, wildlife, recreation) and non-renewable (coal, oil and natural gas) resources. The primary objective in land reclamation in the area is to ensure that all disturbed land will be returned to a state which will be as produc-tive or useful to man at least to the degree it was prior to being disturbed. THE NATIVE WOODY PLANT PROGRAMME The programme's candidate native tree and shrub species are listed below: Table 1 List of Candidate Woody Plant Species for Reclamation on the Eastern Slopes of Alberta SCIENTIFIC NAME Alnus crispa (Ait.) Pursh. Alnus tenuifolia Nutt. Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt. Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng Cornus stolonifera Michx. Elaeagnus commutata Bernh. Juniperus communis L. Larix lyallii Parl. Pinus flexilis James Populus balsamifera L. Populus tremuloides Michx. Potentilla fruticosa L. Rosa acicularis Lindl. Rosa woodsii Fendl. Rubus parviflorus Nutt. Rubus strigosus Michx. Salix barrattiana Hook. Salix bebbiana Sarg. Salix glauca L. Salix planifolia Pursh. Salix scouleriana Barratt. Shepherdia canadensis (L.) Nutt. Sorbus scopulina Greene Sorbus sitchensis Roemer green alder thin leaf alder Saskatoon bearberry red osier, dogwood silverberry ground juniper alpine larch limber pine balsam poplar trembling aspen shrubby cinquefoil prickly rose Fendler woods rose salmonberry wild red raspberry willow beaked willow, bebb willow grey willow willow scouler willow, black willow russet buffaloberry Green's mountain ash sitka mountain ash  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation The overall scope of the evaluation and selection programme is given in Figure 2. The evaluation phase utilizes the following criteria to reduce the number of candidate species into a short list: 1. Value in restoring mined or disturbed land to a productive, renewable land use. 2. Adaptability to sites which have been disturbed. 3. Ability to ameliorate disturbed land. 4. Ability to naturally increase or maintain itself. 5. Feasibility of large scale nursery or greenhouse propagation from seed. The secondary objective of the evaluation phase is definition of site requirements for the various species and determination of the major limitations to their use in reclamation. Evaluation is based on review of currently available information and original research. After the short list has been completed the process of establishing field trials will begin. The short list will be finished late in 1981 with the field trials being scheduled for planting in the spring of 1983. Programme completion is expected in 1993. EXAMPLES OF THE EVALUATION PROCESS To illustrate the evaluation procedure being used, two of the candidate species are discussed. The first example demonstrates how the role of one candidate species in land reclamation was defined. The second example shows how a potential difficulty with an otherwise promising candidate species was addressed. 178  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation FIGURE 2 SCHEMATIC OF THE EASTERN SLOPE NATIVE WOODY PLANT PROGRAM CANDIDATE LIST  EVALUATION   1. Ecological Survey and Review 2. Land Use Review 3. Propagation Review and Testing SHORT LIST  ADAPTABILITY TESTING   SELECTION PRESCRIPTION FORMULATION 179  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation EXAMPLE I:  LIMBER PINE (Pinus flexilis James) Limber pine is a small—to-medium sized tree (7.0 m to 15.0 m) of vari-able form. On sheltered sites it may be well formed while in exposed situations it is often multiple-stemmed and stunted. It is primarily a montane species but may occur in the subalpine. Latitudinal limits in Alberta are 49 to 520N while its altitudinal range extends from 925 m to 1,825 m asl (el.). Land Use The value of limber pine for various land uses is summarized in Table 2. Those uses of greatest value include erosion control and watershed protection and wildlife management for mountain goat and for various species of small game. Adaptability of Disturbance Limber pine is adapted to disturbance. In a field survey carried out by the Alberta Forest Service it was found on 10% of the disturbed sites examined in the southern portion of the study area (Russell 1979). It is often the primary tree species to establish in grassed, montane sites (Woodmansee 1972). Throughout its range in the United States it is characteristic of erosively disturbed sites where there is a low density of grasses and herbs (Lepper 1974). Establishment may also be successful on burned areas (King 1967). Amelioration Value The species has relatively little ability to ameliorate disturbed land. However, it is considered to be a critical protection species on steep slopes endangered by erosion (Steinhoff 1972) and thus may prevent extreme site degradation due to this source. Ability to Maintain/Increase The ability of a species to naturally maintain itself or increase in abundance is a function of its competitive ability, mechanisms of natural reproduction, and longevity. 180  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  181   Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation Limber pine has a moderate competitive ability. On mesic sites it cannot compete with other tree species. However, in more xeric situ-ations it may form the physiographic climax (Booth 1950, Kojima 1980). Natural reproduction is by seed. Birds and rodents are critical dis-persal vectors (King 1967, Woodmansee 1977). Limber pine is very long lived. Tree ages 150 to 250 years are not un-common (King 1967, Lepper 1974). Ages of 422 to 1,200 years have been recorded (Ibid). In summary, the species can be expected to maintain itself on sites with low soil moisture. However, on other areas it likely would be replaced eventually by other woody vegetation. The rate of limber pine increase would not be expected to be rapid. Propagation from Seed Limber pine can feasibly be grown in large quantities from seed. Table 3 summarizes the information on the species' need for germination pretreatments. The species is mildly dormant and requires cold stratification for 20 to 60 days. Species' Requirements and Limitations: A summary of the autecological information available for this species is presented in Table 4. Limber pine has potential for use in reclamation of extremely harsh sites and for extension in range beyond those areas where it occurs naturally. Major limitations to its use would include excessive soil moisture, high total soluble soil salts, white pine blister rust, and mountain pine bettle. EXAMPLE II:  SILVERBERRY (Elaeagnus commutata Bernh.) Silverberry is an intermediate sized shrub of up to 4 m in height. It is found throughout the Eastern Slopes study area to an elevation of approximately 1,525 m asl. Land Use The land use information on silverberry is presented in Table 5. Its major potential uses include erosion control and watershed protection and wildlife management for elk, moose, mountain goat, and small game. 182  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation TABLE 3 SUMMARY OF REVIEW ON GERMINATION PRETREATMENTS FOR LIMBER PINE (FROM:  KING, 1980)  % Germ  Reference  Germination Pretreatment(s)  Obtained  Location       Researcher's Comments Anon.,     cold stratification at 30C not 1966      to 50C for 21 days applicable Anon.,     cold stratification at 30C not         optimum germination 1978      to 50C for 21 days applicable   conditions are an al  ternating 20-3O0C   temperature (8 and   16 hour cycles respectively)  without light Babb,      cold stratification at 410F not 1957      (50C) for 30 days applicable Chadwick,  cold stratification at 410F none given 1935 (50C) for 30 to 60 days (in   moist acid peat) DenHeyer,  cold stratification at 50C Alberta per. com.  for 2 months Heit, cold stratification at 360F Wyoming,      species exhibits a mild 1968a; to 4O0F (2.20C to 4.40C) for Colorado,     embryonic dormancy Heit, 20 to 30 days New Mexico 1973 Lepper,    cold stratification at 50C   95, 43,    California,   optimum germination 1974      to 70C for 14 days   15, 40     Wyoming      conditions are an al-  (4 lots) ternating 5-130C  temperature (12 hour   cycles) without light Lohmiller, cold stratification at 330F Montana per. com.  to 380F (0.60C to 3.30C) for 20 days Stark,     brief period of cold Nevada 1966      stratification required Swingle,   cold stratification at 320F     80      none given 1935       to 5O0F (O0C to 1O0C) for 30  to 60 days 183  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation     Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  185    Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation Adaptability to Disturbance The species is highly adapted to disturbance. In Alberta it is primari-ly a species of disturbed habitats (Moore 1964). It is frequently found on such disturbances as erosion gullies and slopes, river edges and cliffs, land slides, and roadcuts. The A.F.S. field survey found it on 8% of the disturbed sites examined in the study area (Russell 1979). Ameliorative Value Silverberry is valuable for the amelioration of disturbed sites. It is an important grassland nitrogen-fixer (Vlassak 1973). In one study, the annual nitrogen contribution from silverberry leaves was estimated to be 38 kg/ha N (Whysong and Bailey 1975). Innoculation of silverberry plants was found to have a beneficial effect on the growth performance of both silverberry and associated herbage (Bailey 1973). Ability to Maintain/Increase The competitive ability of silverberry is moderate. On the fescue grassland association of Alberta it was uncommon prior to intensive livestock grazing (Moss and Campbell 1947). One of the reasons for its lack of aggressiveness may be its relatively slow rate of cover spread (Freeman et al 1977). Natural reproduction is by rhizomes and seed. The species is fairly long lived. In one study, the oldest stems in the stands surveyed were 6 to 19 years (Whysong and Bailey 1975). However, no information was given on the clonal age which was likely much older. Therefore, in areas where interspecific competition is not excessive, a silverberry stand may both maintain itself and increase in area or stem frequency. The species offers an advantage in reproducing vegetatively as well as by sexual means. Propagation from Seed Table 6 summarizes the information on methods of seed propagation. The literature was inconsistent on the need for germination pre-treatment and also pointed out the species' slow germination response and the existence of a germination inhibitor in its seed's endocarp. 186  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation TABLE 6 SUMMARY OF REVIEW ON GERMINATION PRETREATMENTS FOR SILVERBERRY (FROM:  KING, 1980)  % Germ Reference  Germination Pretreatment(s)  Obtained  Location    Researcher's Comments Anon.,     cold stratification at 410F  80 to 90  Montana 1979      (50C) for 60 to 90 days Babb,     cold stratification at 410F Alaska 1959      (50C) for 75 days Benson,    cold stratification at 38°F Idaho per. com.  to 410F (3.30C to 50C) for 30  to 90 days Corns and  cold stratification at 50C   75 (after Alberta     in other testing endo- Schraa,    for 110 days 20 days)  carp removal gave 85 to 1962 100? germ; endocarp  contains a germination   inhibiting substance Cram,      cold stratification at 60C   71        Saskatchewan 1972       for 45 days DenHeyer,  cold stratification at 50C Alberta per. com.  for 2 months Dick,      cold stratification at 50C British 1979       for 60 days Columbia He it,      none necessary none given  because of seed coal 1968b texture, germination  response is slow but  acid treatment is not  necessary; the species  does not exhibit a doi—  mant embryo (total   germination was nearly   the same with or with  out cold stratifica-  tion) Lohmiller, cold stratification at 330F Montana per. com.  to 380F (0.60C to 3.30C) for   30 to 60 days Olson,     cold stratification at 340F none given 1974       to 5O0F (1.10C to 1O0C) for 10 to 90 days Shoemaker   cold stratification at 330F Alberta     germination response is & Hargrave, to 4O0F (0.60C to 4.40C) for slow due to hard seed 1936        one year Simonson,   none necessary (two lots)    42, 57    Alberta 1976 187  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation In an effort to resolve these questions, a factorial experiment was set up using cold stratification (in acid peat moss at 50C for O, 15, 30, 45, and 60 days) and cold running water leaching treatments (for O, 24, 48 and 96 hours) as main effects. The seedlot used in the test was collected at latitude 490SO1N and longitude 114°20' and at an elevation of 1448 m asl. The germination testing conditions used were: constant 2O0C tempera-ture, no light, germination paper subtrate, and a test duration of 21 days (with germination counts being done every seven days). Water leaching significantly enhanced germination (Figure 3). Maximum cumulative germination of 50% was obtained with the 96 hour water leaching treatment. The effect of leaching became more exaggerated as germination time increased (Figure 4). In comparison cold stratifica-tion had little influence on germination. The positive effect of leaching parallels similar studies with Astragalus lentiginosus Dougl. (Zeimkiewicz and Cronin 1981) and suggests the presence of a water soluble germination inhibitor in the seed. Species Requirements and Limitations The autecological information for the species is summarized in Table 7. Silverberry is adapted to a wide range of site conditions. The major limitations on its use would include altitude, soil pH, and a potential disease problem. SUMMARY The Alberta Forest Service, Alberta Energy and Natural Resources has initiated a programme to evaluate and select native woody plants for reclamation in the Eastern Slopes of Alberta. The scope of the pro-gramme has been presented. The evaluation process is a combination of currently available informa-tion and research. It is presently underway. Limber pine and silver-berry are presented as examples of the process. The seed of silverberry does not require cold stratification prior to germination. Rather, a cold running water leach would appear to be an optimum germination pre-treatment. Leaching for 96 hours gave the maximum real cumulative germination and most rapid germination rate (in the second and third weeks of the testing) in the species' seed testing. 188  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation FIGURE 3  GERMINATION OF SILVERBERRY SEED   Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation FIGURE 4 SILVERBERRY GERMINATION DURING EACH SEED TESTING COUNT PERIOD       190 O Ib 30 45 60 COLD STRATIFICATION      (DAYS)       Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation   Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  LITERATURE CITED Bailey, A.W. 1973. Effects of nodulation on growth of silverberry. Can. J. Plant. Sci. 53:919-920. Booth, W.E. Flora of Montana: Conifers and Monocots. Montana State College, Bozeman, Montana. 232p. Freeman, T., J. Stroh, J. Zasada, A. Epps and J. Smith. 1977. A re-vegetation guide for Alaska. Rural Development Council Publication P-238. Co-operative Extension Service, University of Alaska. Fairbanks, Alaska. 74pp. King, P.J. 1980. Review of seed pretreatments required for germination of candidate native tree and shrub species in the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains and Foothills of Alberta. Energy and Natural Resources Report 154. Alberta Forest Service, Alberta Energy and Natural Resources. Edmonton, Alberta. 56pp. King, T.W. 1967. A study of vegetation, soils and small mammals of timber pine stands in north-central Wyoming. MS. Thesis. Uni-versity of Wyoming. Laramie, Wyoming. 55pp. Kojima, S. 1980. Biogeoclimatic zones of southwestern Alberta. Re-search Branch, Alberta Forest Service, Alberta Energy and Natural Resources. Edmonton, Alberta. 36pp. Lepper, M.G. 1974. Pinus flexilis and its environmental relation-ships. Ph.D. Thesis. University of California. Davis, Cali-fornia. 184pp. Moore, A.W. 1964. Note on non-leguminous nitrogen-fixing plants in Alberta. Can. J. Bot. 42:952-955. Moss, E.H. and J.A. Campbell. 1947. The fescue grassland of Alberta. Can. J. Research. 25:209-227. Russell, W.B. 1979. Survey of native trees and shrubs on disturbed lands in the Eastern Slopes. Reforestation and Reclamation Branch, Alberta Forest Service, Alberta Energy and Natural Resources. Edmonton, Alberta. 38pp. 192  Proceedings of the 5th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Cranbrook, BC, 1981. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation Steinhoff, R.J. 1972. White pines of western North America and Central America. USDA Misc. Publ. 1221:215-232. Vlassak, K., E. Paul and R. Harris. 1973. Assessment of biological nitrogen fixation in grassland and associated sites. Plant and Soil. 38:637-649. Whysong, G.L. and A.W. Bailey. 1975. Production and nitrogen content of herbage in a silverberry (Elaeagnus commutata) community compared to adjacent grassland and forest communities. Can. J. Plant. Sci. 55:801-808. Woodmansee, R.G. 1977. Clusters of limber pine trees - a hypothesis of plant-animal co-action. Southwest Naturalist. 21(4):511-517. Ziemkiewicz, P.F. and E.H. Cronin. 1981. Germination of seed of three varieties of spotted locoweed. Journal of Range Management. 34(2):94-97. 193 

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