Beargrass is an ecologically, culturally, and economically important plant in the Western United States and, for the first time, landowners, managers, and harvesters now have a comprehensive report about the species.
The report, Natural and Cultural History of Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax), published by the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station, identifies critical knowledge gaps and areas for future research. It also documents how changes in disturbance, including fire, may affect the species across its range.
"Beargrass is emblematic of a web of natural and cultural diversity in the West," said Susan Stevens Hummel, a research forester at the station and lead author of the report. "This means that organisms and processes—like people, plants, and pollinators—are interrelated."
Beargrass is a member of the lily family that, when in bloom, produces a single stalk capped with clusters of white flowers. It grows in a wide variety of habitat types and conditions, but in just two geographic areas—from the mountains of northwestern Washington south into west-central California, and from Canada south into Wyoming along the Rocky Mountains.
The plant provides food, habitat, and raw material for an array of wildlife species—from bees and flies, to rodents, bears, deer, and elk. Beargrass has longstanding cultural value and is harvested by Native Americans for use in basketry and regalia, and for medicinal and decorative purposes. It also is coveted by the commercial floral greens industry, which generates more than $200 million a year in the Pacific Northwest.
Hummel, together with her coauthors at the Xerces Society and the station, found that historical and contemporary land use practices in beargrass habitat, combined with the rise of the commercial floral greens industry, are creating shifts in disturbances within beargrass habitat.
"We found that beargrass is experiencing decreased disturbance from natural and human-caused fire, but increased disturbance from leaf harvest by the floral industry," Hummel said. "Our report looks at each of these different disturbance types and their potential effects on beargrass, its pollinators, and on human gatherers."
Among the report's findings:
- Disturbance effects on pollinators and on beargrass reproduction and abundance are not well understood;
- Traditional and commercial harvesters seek different leaf properties and use different methods to harvest beargrass;
- No coordinated effort exists among landowners to monitor the volume of beargrass being harvested each year.
"This report clarifies for land managers the importance of beargrass and offers researchers a list of knowledge gaps about the plant," Hummel said. "By addressing some of the key issues identified in the report, forest management practices can be developed to help sustain the ecological web of which beargrass is a part."
Natural and Cultural History of Beargrass is available online at http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/42172 and in print by request. Printed copies of the report can be requested by emailing email@example.com or calling (503) 261-1211 and referencing "PNW-GTR-864."
The Pacific Northwest Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. It has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington and about 400 employees.
Yasmeen Sands | EurekAlert!
When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences