Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
Science & Environmental Policy
Coast and dune buckwheat (Eriogonum parvifolium & E. latifolium) are native plants to the Fort Ord sand dunes which are essential for the survivorship of the federally-endangered Smith's blue butterfly (Euphilotes enoptes smithi). Buckwheat was put at risk during the restoration process because the land was stripped of its vegetation in order to remove the lead left behind from bullet shells when the land was used as rifle ranges by the military in the past. The Fort Ord dunes of California have undergone immense restoration treatments in order to increase the abundance of native plants, like coast and dune buckwheat. In order to learn more about buckwheat survivorship I addressed this question: Does location on hillslope and aspect influence the percent cover of planted buckwheats (Eriogonum latifolium & E. parvifolium) on the Fort Ord dunes? South-facing slopes had the greatest percent cover relative to north and east-facing slopes. However, there appeared to be no differences in percent cover of buckwheat for upper, middle, and lower hillslope positions. When comparing percent cover of buckwheat over a period of 18 months, an increase in percent cover was found, however, over shorter periods of time (6 and 12 months), no such difference was observed at other ranges. For future replantings, I would suggest planting buckwheats later in the restoration process on south-facing, lower hillslopes, after dune vegetation has been well-established. Based on personal observations, buckwheat crown size varied with aspect and hillslope position and merits further studying. Given a limited survivorship of buckwheat at the assessed ranges, further studies could enhance buckwheat survivorship and help aide in the increase of Smith's blue butterfly populations.
Wallingford, Heather, "Spatial distribution of coast and dune buckwheat (Eriogonum latifolium & E. parvifolium) in a restoration site on the Fort Ord dunes of California" (2004). Capstone Projects and Theses. 60.