Seedling Recruitment and Establishment of Lupinus perennis in a Mixed-Management Landscape
Seedling recruitment and establishment are key stages in the growth and maintenance of viable plant populations. Lupinus perennis (Wild blue lupine) is a long-lived oak savanna indicator species and the sole larval food source for several endangered or threatened butterflies. Since L. perennis is known to respond favorably to fire, land managers use a mosaic of controlled burns and field mowings to improve habitat for both plant and butterflies. However, it is unknown whether lupine populations are successfully recruiting and establishing under this management. We quantified natural lupine seedling recruitment and establishment throughout seven sites with known management histories in the Oak Openings region of Northwest Ohio and collected a range of environmental measurements at each seedling and used initial seedling size as a proxy for emergence time. Seedling recruitment and establishment varied across the region. A large fall cohort of lupine seedlings was followed and found to have comparable and higher rates of establishment than their spring counterparts. Logistic regressions revealed that soil moisture, moss cover, ferns, source populations, and initial seedling sizes increased the probabilities of survival to July 1 and establishment in spring 2008, while increased light levels decreased the probabilities of survival. Initial seedling size and source population also explained spring 2008 seedling size. Litter depth decreased with increasing management activity and prescribed fires since 2000 and is known to inhibit lupine emergence times. This suggests that litter removal should be a key concern for management practices, but the overall effects of mosses, ferns, soil moistures, and light levels creating suitable microhabitats for lupine seedling survival and establishment should also be emphasized when designing management regimes.
School:Bowling Green State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:recruitment establishment lupinus perennis management fire mowing
Date of Publication:01/01/2008