Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Beargrass, a plant of many roles, is focus of new report

Date:
November 19, 2012
Source:
USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary:
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.

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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station. "Beargrass, a plant of many roles, is focus of new report." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121119171407.htm>.
USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station. (2012, November 19). Beargrass, a plant of many roles, is focus of new report. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121119171407.htm
USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station. "Beargrass, a plant of many roles, is focus of new report." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121119171407.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Iceland has lowered its aviation alert on its largest volcano after a fresh eruption on a nearby lava field prompted authorities to enforce a flight ban for several hours. Duration: 01:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) A lightning strike injured three people on a New York City beach on Sunday. The storms also delayed flights and interrupted play at the US Open tennis tournament. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) A study of almost 20 years' worth of satellite images shows Antarctic sea levels are on the rise as ice shelves continue to melt. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins