Establishment of native species on a natural gas pipeline: the importance of seeding rate, aspect, and species selection
Res. Pap. NRS-30. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 11 p.
With the increase in natural gas production in the United States, land managers need solutions and best practices to mitigate potential negative impacts of forest and soil disturbance and meet landowner objectives and desired conditions. Mitigation often includes the use of native seed mixes for maintaining plant diversity, controlling nonnative invasive species, and erosion control. The area disturbed by installing a buried pipeline to transport natural gas from a gas well near Parsons, WV was used to test the performance of a native seed mix. The seed mix was applied at the recommended seeding rate (56 kg ha-1; 50 lb ac-1) and triple the recommended rate (168 kg ha-1; 150 lb ac-1) to evaluate whether a higher seeding rate would produce greater native establishment and affect tree, weed, and invasive plant colonization. Sowed native grasses and blackberry (Rubus spp.), the latter of which was not part of the seed mix, dominated the pipeline right-of-way (ROW) 3 years after seeding. Mean coverage of these species was more than 68 percent on all the pipeline study plots. Deer-tongue (Dichanthelium clandestinum [L.] Gould) was by far the most successful species in the seed mix (overall mean cover of 33 percent), and it showed much better establishment on the drier southeast-facing hillside (mean cover of 49 percent). Autumn bentgrass (Agrostis perennans [Walter] Tuck.) fared better on the wetter northwest aspect (mean cover of 24 percent). Specific site characteristics or regeneration needs may explain the absence or limited onsite presence of some native species from the seed mix 3 years after sowing. Our results add support to the argument that a ROW project may require a variety of seed mixtures, especially when growing conditions and soil series vary across the project area.
Thomas-Van Gundy, Melissa A.; Edwards, Pamela J.; Schuler, Thomas M. 2018. Establishment of native species on a natural gas pipeline: the importance of seeding rate, aspect, and species selection. Res. Pap. NRS-30. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 11 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/NRS-RP-30.