Track 1-04

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Past mismanagement, overgrazing, invasive weedy species, wildfires, marginal crop production, mineral and energy extraction, recreation and global climate change are challenges currently facing rangelands (Pierson et al. 2011). These disturbances may lead to long-term reductions in biodiversity, altered nutrient and water cycling, diminished forage production for livestock and wildlife, increased wildfire frequency and increased soil erosion and stream sedimentation (Sheley et al. 2008). Rangeland revegetation with desirable plant materials may be required to improve degraded conditions, speed recovery, and prevent further erosion and degradation. There is a critical need for plant materials to restore and revegetate rangeland ecosystems. Legumes indigenous to western North America are of particular interest for revegetation because they provide biologically fixed nitrogen, increase plant production, enhance forage quality and provide food sources for grazing animals and pollinators. Some land managers in the USA are concerned with the genetic identity of populations used for revegetation. To balance concerns of genetic identity, ecological adaptation, and economical seed production, we assessed genetic variation and its phenotypic expression in Astragalus filipes Torr. ex A. Gray (basalt milkvetch), Dalea ornata (Douglas) Eaton & Wright (western prairie clover) and D. searlsiae (A. Gray) Barneby (Searls’ prairie clover) using common-garden and AFLP (amplified fragment length polymorphism) techniques. These data were used to define population structures (genetically differentiated groups) within each species, which served as a basis for commercial release and rangeland revegetation (Johnson et al. 2012).

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Using Common Gardens and AFLP Analyses to Identify Metapopulations of Indigenous Plant Materials for Rangeland Revegetation in Western USA

Past mismanagement, overgrazing, invasive weedy species, wildfires, marginal crop production, mineral and energy extraction, recreation and global climate change are challenges currently facing rangelands (Pierson et al. 2011). These disturbances may lead to long-term reductions in biodiversity, altered nutrient and water cycling, diminished forage production for livestock and wildlife, increased wildfire frequency and increased soil erosion and stream sedimentation (Sheley et al. 2008). Rangeland revegetation with desirable plant materials may be required to improve degraded conditions, speed recovery, and prevent further erosion and degradation. There is a critical need for plant materials to restore and revegetate rangeland ecosystems. Legumes indigenous to western North America are of particular interest for revegetation because they provide biologically fixed nitrogen, increase plant production, enhance forage quality and provide food sources for grazing animals and pollinators. Some land managers in the USA are concerned with the genetic identity of populations used for revegetation. To balance concerns of genetic identity, ecological adaptation, and economical seed production, we assessed genetic variation and its phenotypic expression in Astragalus filipes Torr. ex A. Gray (basalt milkvetch), Dalea ornata (Douglas) Eaton & Wright (western prairie clover) and D. searlsiae (A. Gray) Barneby (Searls’ prairie clover) using common-garden and AFLP (amplified fragment length polymorphism) techniques. These data were used to define population structures (genetically differentiated groups) within each species, which served as a basis for commercial release and rangeland revegetation (Johnson et al. 2012).