Assessing and mitigating the effects of windblown soil on rare and common vegetation

Sean M. Gleason*, Dave T. Faucette, Mai M. Toyofuku, Carlos A. Torres, Calvin F. Bagley

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Acting under the auspices of the US Endangered Species Act, we quantified wind erosion and its effects on rare and common plant species on a semi-arid military installation in Hawaii. Our goal was to develop management strategies, based on local data, to aid the conservation of rare and common indigenous plants and their habitats. We collected windblown soil coming off of roads and other disturbed soils to assess likely impacts to plants occurring at certain heights and distances from disturbed surfaces. We then subjected plants in a glasshouse to windblown dust treatments, designed from our field data to simulate erosion events, and evaluated the effect of these treatments on photosynthesis and survival. We also designed several field experiments to examine the in-situ effects of windblown soil and soil substrate on germination, growth rate, and survival of indigenous and nonindigenous plants. We conclude from these experiments that most direct effects of windblown soil to plants can be effectively mitigated by locating roads and training areas at least 40 m from sensitive plant habitats and through vegetation management to maintain at least 11% aerial cover on disturbed surfaces. Effects of soil type on germination, growth, and survival was species-specific, emphasizing the importance of species trials prior to, or during, rehabilitation efforts.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1016-1024
    Number of pages9
    JournalEnvironmental Management
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


    • Amax
    • Endangered Species Act
    • Photosynthesis
    • Rare plants
    • Resource management
    • Wind erosion


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