Restoration of Endangered Species Habitats
Where habitats have been severely disturbed, efforts are underway to restore – to recreate them. Do we understand endangered species’ requirements well enough to recreate appropriate habitat? I
conducted experiments to assess alternative approaches to habitat restoration for Fender’s blue butterfly. One technique, solarization (reducing non-native seeds in the seedbank by covering tilled soil with plastic for several months), was significantly better than other treatments (reducing soil nitrogen by reverse fertilization or creating disturbance by tilling the soil). This result suggests that competition from non-native weeds is a primary factor controlling restoration success. Four years after sowing, solarization techniques resulted in sufficient nectar resources for the Fender’s blue at both experimental sites, but no methods resulted in sufficient larval hostplant resources (Schultz 2001). With restoration actions, we have the opportunity to investigate the behavioral response to restoration action and look at the implications for population dynamics of an endangered species, a linkage rarely made in the restoration or conservation literature. This research is continuing in several directions.
Glaeser, R. and C. B. Schultz. 2014. Characterizing a contentious management tool: the effects of a grass-specific herbicide on the silvery blue butterfly. Journal of Insect Conservation 18:1047-1058.