Success of Turf Transplants in Restoring Alpine Trails, Colorado, U.S.A
Robin F. Bay, James J. Ebersole
Heavy, increasing recreation on Colorado's high peaks has created numerous social trails requiring restoration. We studied success of turf transplants 3 yr after transplanting on Mount Belford in the Sawatch Range, and Humboldt Peak in the Sangre de Cristo Range. Based on point-intercept data, sum of all vascular species' covers was 12% to 31% lower in transplanted plots than in control areas. We found no differences in canopy density and height between transplant and control plots on Mount Belford, while both were about 40% lower in transplants on Humboldt Peak. Species richness adjusted for plot size was slightly greater in transplant plots on Mount Belford and slightly lower on Humboldt Peak. On both peaks, we found greater absolute cover of grasses in transplant plots, while forb cover was lower. After 3 yr, turf transplants effectively established vegetation cover and maintained high species richness in these communities. Whenever turf is available, e.g., new trail construction, it should be used to restore closed social trails and campsites, and turf transplants can be considered in other ecosystems for small disturbances in high-value areas where restoration would otherwise be slow.