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Influence of pipelines and environmental factors on the endangered plant, Halimolobos virgata (Nutt.) O.E. Schultz over a 10 year period

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grassland, pipeline impacts, rare plant mitigation, Brassicaceae

Abstract (summary)

We investigated the effects of pipeline construction and environmental factors on the occurrence and characteristics of the endangered plant Halimolobos virgata (Nutt.) O.E. Schultz. The plants were surveyed from 2007 to 2016 at three sites along the Keystone Pipeline in southern Alberta, Canada. Plant height, number of flowers and siliques, as well as microhabitat and climate data were collected up to 300 m away from the pipeline. Pipeline construction and distance had no effect on plant numbers or physical characteristics, with occurrences increasing markedly over time. Greater litter cover and depth and spring precipitation were associated with plant height and number of flowers and siliques. Vegetation cover was negatively correlated with H. virgata cover; however, plant height and number of flowers and seed pods were positively influenced by graminoid cover. The highest occurrences of H. virgata coincided with the driest and wettest years, and higher winter and spring temperatures. Some of this pattern can be attributed to the plant’s annual, biennial, and short perennial life forms, which may overlap and create a temporary exponential growth rate for an annual plant under ideal conditions. This research highlights the importance of understanding a species’ life history for the development of effective conservation and recovery strategies.

Publication Information

Naeth MA, D.A. Locky, S.R. Wilkinson, C.L. Bryks (Nemirsky), C.H. Low and M.R. Nannt. 2020. Influence of site factors and distance from pipeline on the endangered plant species Halimolobos virgata (Nutt.) O.E. Schultz (Brassicacae) over ten years. Botany. DOI: 10.1139/cjb-2020-0026


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