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Clonal re-introduction of endangered plant species: The case of German false tamarisk in pre-alpine rivers

Koch, C. and J. Kollmann. 2012. Environmental Management 50:217-225

Abstract

The scope of re-introduction as a measure for plant species protection is increasing, but as long as no standardized methods are available, species-specific assessments are necessary to determine whether seeds, adult plants or plant fragments should be used. The endangered German False Tamarisk (Myricaria germanica), which occurs on gravel bars along pre-alpine rivers, is difficult to grow from seeds. Thus, propagation of stem cuttings was investigated as an alternative method. Experiments were conducted in a greenhouse and a field site with three treatments: cutting length 5 or 10 cm, vertical burial 5 or 10 cm, and water level low or high. Plants grown in the greenhouse were transplanted to the River Isar to test establishment of rooted cuttings on gravel bars. The cuttings in the greenhouse showed high survival (34- 96 %). Survival and biomass production were greatest for 10-cm cuttings buried at 10-cm depth, while only one of the 5-cm cuttings survived at this depth, and no significant effect of variation in water level was observed. None of the cuttings transplanted to field sites survived, most likely because of drought stress and competition. We conclude that for re-introduction of Myricaria germanica rooted cuttings can be easily produced in large quantities, while transplantation to near-natural environments has to be improved to reduce mortality.

Key Words

Clonal propagation; Myricaria germanica; re-establishment; river restoration; species conservation