Conservation of four at-risk plant species in sandhill ecosystems of the southeastern Coastal Plain
Durant, Jaclin Alexandra
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Conservation and restoration of herbaceous plant species endemic to the longleaf pine sandhills ecosystem of the southeastern United States are essential for maintaining diversity in this habitat. This study focuses on four at-risk species that represent a variety of plant life forms associated with this ecosystem. Natural populations were surveyed for density and reproduction, and experiments were conducted to determine how varying environmental conditions affect germination. In addition, the growth and survival of these four species planted into experimental gardens under a variety of post-disturbance conditions were studied. Results suggest that these four plant species can survive disturbed conditions that are likely to be found in sandhills ecosystems and that restoration efforts can be optimized by the pre-treatment of seeds using heat, cold stratification, or scarification techniques.