Elise S. Gornish

Elise S. Gornish
The University of Arizona | UA · School of Natural Resources and the Environment

PhD.

About

108
Publications
23,449
Reads
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1,159
Citations
Citations since 2017
67 Research Items
973 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250
Additional affiliations
September 2007 - May 2013
Florida State University
Position
  • Research Assistant

Publications

Publications (108)
Article
Buffelgrass [ Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link] is an invasive C 4 perennial bunchgrass that is a threat to biodiversity in aridlands in the Americas and Australia. Topography influences P. ciliare occurrence at large spatial scales, but further investigation into the relationship between local-scale topography and P. ciliare growth and reproduction wo...
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Restoration in dryland ecosystems often has poor success due to low and variable water availability, degraded soil conditions, and slow plant community recovery rates. Restoration treatments can mitigate these constraints, but because treatments and subsequent monitoring are typically limited in space and time, our understanding of their applicabil...
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Management of wildfire associated with spread of the highly invasive annual grass Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) is a critical need in the western U.S. We investigated the utility of coupling common rangeland management strategies pre‐fire to modify post‐fire plant community outcomes. We used a long‐term, large‐scale experiment to test the separate a...
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A recent Restoration Ecology article by Merchant et al. (2022) suggested that practitioners do not regularly use functional traits in restoration planning. We disagree and provide our collective experience that practitioners do leverage trait‐based approaches and information, but in ways that are different from researchers. Here, we provide an expa...
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Global warming has induced increases in productivity in open, grass- and forb-dominated (OGFD) ecosystems. However, little attention has been given to the temporal stability of productivity responses to global warming. We show that the stability of productivity in OGFD ecosystems decreased significantly over the past 40 years. Using the satellite-d...
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Strip seeding is a novel restoration practice of strategically planting in strips, resulting in alternating seeded and unseeded areas to target efforts and reduce costs while achieving ecological outcomes similar to conventional methods of seeding entire sites. However, there has been limited work testing the efficacy of this method, including how...
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Abstract Elevated soil nitrogen (N) resulting from pollution, fertilizer, and woody encroachment in grasslands enhances invasion pressures from weedy plant species. Sawdust, sucrose, and other labile carbon (C) sources can be used as a soil amendment to combat the growth of fast‐growing, invasive non‐native plants by immobilizing soil N. Here, we p...
Article
Carbon and water use efficiency (CUE and WUE) are crucial indicators of grassland ecosystem responses to climate change. Grass planting is one of the dominant methods of grassland restoration and agricultural production. However, how warming and reclamation impact grassland CUE and WUE remain unclear. Here we examined how warming affected carbon an...
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Grasslands are essential natural and agricultural ecosystems that encompass over one-third of global lands. However, land conversion and poor management have caused losses of these systems which contributed to a 10% reduction of net primary production, a 4% increase in carbon emissions, and a potential loss of US $42 billion a year. It is, therefor...
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Successful seed‐based restoration in dryland systems is difficult due to the many limitations associated with germination and establishment. Seed predators, including granivorous ants, can consume or move applied seeds offsite reducing restoration success. Granivorous ants in the US Southwest move and store tens of thousands of seeds and show prefe...
Article
Gross ecosystem productivity (GEP) plays an important role in global carbon cycling. However, how plant phenology and growth rate regulate GEP under climate change is unclear. Based on an in situ manipulative experiment using open top chambers from 2015 to 2018, we measured whole year warming and spring precipitation addition effects on plant pheno...
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To support and scale‐up global restoration efforts, the United Nations (UN) has proclaimed 2021–2030 the “UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration”. The Decade offers significant opportunities for and challenges to restoration, in particular for Africa, a continent that has a large need and potential for restoration. We thus argue that the Decade must be...
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Russian thistle, also known as tumbleweed ( Salsola spp.), is a problematic invasive plant found on natural and working landscapes. On a California rangeland, we tested the singular and interactive treatments of grazing, herbicide, and seeding to determine how these approaches might influence Salsola cover across a 5-yr experiment. Total Salsola co...
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Invasive species are detrimental to ecosystems worldwide, and long-term invasive treatment outcomes are generally poor. Integrating active restoration into an invasive species treatment plan by seeding with species that that can competitively suppress the invader may help to improve treatment outcomes. Buffelgrass is a drought tolerant perennial gr...
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Dryland restoration is becoming increasingly challenging in arid and semi‐arid regions, such as in the southwestern U.S., due to rapid land degradation, the spread of non‐native species, and climate change. The development of strategies to enhance restoration of native species, particularly culturally and ecologically important native plants like P...
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Encroachment of Eragrostis lehmanniana (Lehmann lovegrass), a non-native perennial grass species, challenges land managers in the southwestern United States due to its tendency to increase fire frequency and displacement of natives. In areas characterized by disturbance, E. lehmanniana displaces Agave palmeri (Palmer’s agave), an ecologically and s...
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Drylands are highly vulnerable to land degradation, and despite increasing efforts, restoration success remains low. Although often ignored in the design and deployment of management strategies, soil microbial communities might be critical for dryland restoration due to their central role in promoting soil stability, nutrient cycling, and plant est...
Article
Buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris), an invasive perennial grass in arid regions of the US, has drastically modified natural ecosystems. Understanding the aboveground-belowground links between buffelgrass invasion and soil microbial communities will be critical for developing a comprehensive understanding of arid ecosystems and for deploying successful...
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The invasive annual grasses barb goatgrass ( Aegilops triuncialis L.) and medusahead ( Elymus caput-medusae L.) are widespread in western states and present management challenges on grasslands. To develop an integrated management strategy for these species, we treated sites in five pastures in Mendocino County, comparing combinations of intensive s...
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Dryland ecosystems generally require active restoration to recover from severe land degradation caused by resource and energy extraction operations. While seeding remains one of the most used forms of active restoration, land managers in dryland systems have generally had difficulty re-establishing desirable plant communities, due in part to altera...
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Ecological restoration efforts are likely to be more successful when project components are informed by relevant stakeholders. However, key stakeholders are often not included in restoration design and deployment. This is largely driven by a lack of practitioner knowledge of and experience with stakeholder relations. However, inclusion of stakehold...
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Effective restoration strategies are needed to address habitat degradation that accompanies worldwide environmental change. One method used to enhance restoration outcomes is the leveraging of beneficial relationships (facilitation) among plants. In the southwestern U.S., native mesquite trees (Prosopis spp.) are commonly planted to stabilize soil,...
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1. Phenology is an important indicator of plant responses to environmental changes and is closely correlated with biomass production. However, how changes of phenological events affect plant biomass production when exposed to changing temperature and precipitation remains unclear. 2. We conducted a four-year manipulative experiment of warming and p...
Data
FIGURE S1 Schematic of a coupled effects of grazing and rainfall pulses on multi-synusiae coexistence in a semi-arid desert grassland in the Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER), USA. In this grazing system, woody plants offer a shelter that tends to facilitate herbaceous and cacti plant coexistence since grasses have been generally foraged by larg...
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1. Semi-arid rangelands, comprising more than 40% of the Earth’s land surface, provide critical ecosystem services. Worldwide, these ecosystems are experiencing rapid degradation due to overgrazing and precipitation changes. However, how plants respond to these interacting factors remains relatively unexplored, and precisely which and how rainfall...
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Purpose of Review Although landscape-scale restoration efforts are gaining traction worldwide, their success is generally unknown. We review landscape-scale restorations to gain insight to whether focal ecological outcomes have been achieved, in the face of changing environmental conditions. Recent Findings Only 9% of the 477 articles that resulte...
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Buffelgrass (Cenchus ciliaris) is a drought-tolerant invasive grass in the Americas and Australia that significantly impacts native plant communities and ecosystems. Despite the clear need to develop a comprehensive understanding of how buffelgrass is able to invade and rapidly establish in arid ecosystems, there is still a lack of knowledge as to...
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Better understanding of the connection between above‐ground plant communities and below‐ground soil organisms and processes has led to an explosion in recent research on the applications of this link to the field of ecological restoration. Research is only beginning to have the capacity to link soil organisms and specific ecosystem functions. Estab...
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Ecological restoration has become increasingly important in conservation. Yet, synthesized statistics are scarce with respect to essential characteristics of restoration activities. We surveyed restoration stakeholders in the U.S. states of Arizona and California to evaluate key attributes in restoration activities including ecosystems of focus, go...
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Widespread degradation of natural lands has created an urgent need for restoration. However, the high cost of conventional techniques limits the extent and success of restoration efforts. As a result, practitioners have developed new cost‐effective techniques. Spatially‐patterned restoration methods, where established clusters of plant species serv...
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A primary goal of ecological restoration is often to return processes and functions to degraded ecosystems. Soil, while often ignored in restoration, supports diverse communities of organisms and is a fundamental actor in providing ecosystem processes and services. We investigated the impact of seeding and livestock grazing on plant communities, so...
Article
Temperature and precipitation are primary regulators of plant phenology. However, our knowledge of how these factors might interact to affect plant phenology is incomplete. The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, a cold and high region, has experienced no consistent changes in spring phenology, despite a significant warming trend. We conducted a manipulative...
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Working rangelands and natural areas span diverse ecosystems and face both ecological and economic threats from weed invasion. Restoration practitioners and land managers hold a voluminous cache of place-based weed management experience and knowledge that has largely been untapped by the research community. We surveyed 260 California rangeland mana...
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Substantial gaps exist between weed management researchers and practitioners with respect to prompt exchange of knowledge between the two groups, hindering the implementation of effective management to solve weed problems. We conducted a survey between 2016 and 2018 among weed management practitioners (n = 259) across diverse ecoregions on Californ...
Poster
Restore the Agave palmeri plant population destroyed by U.S-Mexico border wall construction. ▪ Assess and monitor the factors contributing to young Agave mortality through the set treatments. ▪ Replenish food sources for the migrating bats ▪ 1200 plants were planted in six-one Hectare plots. There were 10 rows in each plot, 20 plants/per row. ▪ A t...
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Buffelgrass ( Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link ) is a drought-tolerant invasive grass that is a threat to native biodiversity in the drylands of the Americas and Australia. Despite efforts from land managers to control P. ciliaris , management approaches tend to have mixed success, treatment results can be poorly communicated among entities, and there...
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Grazing-induced changes in plant community structure can be altered by the biogeochemical regime of the ecosystem. However, responses of community structure (e.g., changes in biomass, canopy height, and stand density) to grazing-induced changes in foliar nutrient content—whether species-specific or species group-specific (dominant vs. subordinate)—...
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Arid lands face numerous restoration challenges due to infrequent and irregular precipitation which impacts plant germination, growth, and survival. Abundant seed predators, harsh surface conditions, and native seeds often poorly suited to mechanical distribution compound restoration challenges. Seed pellets (a.k.a. pods, seed balls and seed bombs)...
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1.Seed‐based restoration is one of the most difficult challenges for dryland restoration. Identifying environmental conditions that drive variation in seed and seedling mortality across similar restoration efforts could increase understanding of when and where restoration outcomes are likely to be favorable and identify new tools and strategies to...
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The spread and persistence of weedy plants in rangelands highlight the need for refinement of existing management techniques and development of novel strategies to address invasions. Strip-seeding – the strategic seeding of a portion of an invaded area to reduce costs and enhance success – is an underutilized management approach that holds promise...
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The re‐establishment and enhancement of plant diversity is typically a priority for restoration practitioners. Since diversity and stability can be affected by the magnitude to which randomness drives community dynamics, modifying randomness (via habitat heterogeneity) could provide utility for vegetation managers. We investigated the value of usin...
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I remember the first time I published outcomes from a management experiment in a peer-reviewed journal. I was proud of my work and excited that managers would be able to integrate my suggestions into their plans. After the publication came out, I sent a copy to the manager of a state park and asked him if the paper could be useful for vegetation ma...
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In most grassland ecosystems, the effects of mean temperature increase on plant communities have been investigated; however, the effects of climate fluctuations on local plant community metrics are much less well understood. We conducted a nine-year survey in alpine meadow and alpine steppe to investigate the effects of inter-annual temperature and...
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Ranchers are increasingly expected to manage grasslands for forage production and native biodiversity enhancement goals. However, longstanding relationships between grazing and plant species are often understudied because elucidating effects of grazing absence and presence often requires experimental opportunities that are difficult to establish, s...
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Stakeholder input for restoration and conservation efforts is critical for project success and societal buy‐in. A lack of experience or training, however, might limit the ability of managers to develop the partnerships needed for effective integration of stakeholders in project design and deployment. Cooperative Extension (CE), a boundary spanning...
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• Grazing effects on arid and semi‐arid grasslands can be constrained by aridity. Plant functional groups (PFGs) are the most basic component of community structure (CS) and biodiversity & ecosystem function (BEF). They have been suggested as identity‐dependent in quantifying the response to grazing intensity and drought severity. Here, we examine...
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Goatgrass (Aegilops) species are some of the most aggressive invasive plants in the Western U.S. Despite intense management efforts, goatgrass continues to reduce the ecological and economic integrity of natural and agroecological systems. The mismatch between current research outcomes and practical needs of land managers is likely a result of limi...
Article
The historical management of agroecological systems, such as California's rangelands, have received criticism for a singular focus on agricultural production goals, while society has shifting expectations to the supply of multiple ecosystem services from these working landscapes. The sustainability and the multiple benefits derived from these compl...
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As the science of restoration ecology and the practice of habitat restoration adapt to new sets of goals in a changing climate, we turn our attention to novel techniques and emerging approaches in the field. This special issue brings together eight papers that answer the question, “Given that we have defined our goals, can we find better ways to re...
Article
Restoration islands are concentrated plantings in strategic locations, created to efficiently use resources to achieve restoration goals. These methods have been used effectively in mesic ecosystems, particularly tropical forests, where the goal of island plantings is often to “nucleate” across a degraded area, providing a seed source for spread ou...
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Increasing forage productivity in the Sierra foothill rangelands would help sustain the livestock industry as land availability shrinks and lease rates rise, but hardly any studies have been done on forage selections. From 2009 to 2014, in one of the first long-term and replicated studies of seeding Northern California's Mediterranean annual rangel...
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Full-text available
Increasing forage productivity in the Sierra foothill rangelands would help sustain the livestock industry as land availability shrinks and lease rates rise, but hardly any studies have been done on forage selections. From 2009 to 2014, in one of the first long-term and replicated studies of seeding Northern California's Mediterranean annual rangel...
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Full-text available
Understanding the efficacy of passive (reduction or cessation of environmental stress) and active (typically involving planting or seeding) restoration strategies is important for the design of successful revegetation of degraded riparian habitat, but studies explicitly comparing restoration outcomes are uncommon. We sampled the understory herbaceo...
Data
Detrended correspondence analysis. (EPS)
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The value of long-term data (generally >10 years) in ecology is well known. Funding agencies clearly see the value in these data and have supported a limited number of projects to this end. However, individual researchers often see the challenges of long-term data collection as insurmountable. We propose that long-term data collection can be practi...
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Effective long-term management of noxious plant species depends on our ability to identify and manage ecological processes-driving invasion and to use site-specific information to design realistic management strategies and goals. However, there is a surprising lack of research that investigates relationships among habitat characteristics, weed demo...
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Understanding plant-microbe relationships can be important for developing management strategies for invasive plants, particularly when these relationships interact with underlying variables, such as habitat type and seedbank density, to mediate control efforts. In a field study located in California, USA, we investigated how soil microbial communit...
Data
Significant differences (Wilcoxon test P < 0.01 after false discovery rate correction) in the abundance of bacterial and fungal genera between oak woodland soil samples and open grassland soil samples. (DOCX)
Data
Sample-based phylotype accumulation curves for bacterial and fungal soil communities. (EPS)
Data
Abundance of fungal functional guilds between oak woodland soil samples (green) and open grassland soil samples (blue). Note that the y axis is squared. (PDF)
Data
Shannon diversity for bacterial and fungal soil communities (A, B). Differences between open grassland samples and oak woodland samples were statistically significant (ANOVA P < 0.05). (EPS)
Data
Significant differences (Wilcoxon test P < 0.01 after false discovery rate correction) in the abundance of bacterial and fungal classes between oak woodland soil samples (green) and open grassland soil samples (blue). (EPS)
Article
Full-text available
Restoration practitioners use both native and nonnative plant species for revegetation projects. Typically, when rehabilitating damaged working lands, more practitioners consider nonnative plants; while those working to restore habitat have focused on native plants. But this may be shifting. Novel ecosystems (non-analog communities) are commonly be...