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Canyonlands National Park

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Blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima Torr.) is a small to medium sized shrub of the Rosaceae family. It is considered to be a paleoendemic species which once disturbed on a site does not reestablish. Its distribution is a narrow band ranging from eastern California to extreme western Colontdo occupying a niche between the major species of the Great Basin and Mojave Deserts (Bjugstad 1983; Landis and Simonich 1983; and Wallace et al. 1970). The populations at Arches and Canyonlands National Parks occupy the northern most region of its range. Guidelines exist for the propagation of blackbrush by seed (Vories 1981). Problems exist, however, with the acquisition of seed due to infrequent and inconsistent seed set and establishment of seedlings due to feeding by herbivores (Bowns and West 1976). Therefore, asexual propagation by cuttings or mound layering offer potential. Asexual propagation techniques may present the answer to the revegetation problem in that a relatively large number of plants may be produced with a minimal amount of effort once a successful methodology is established. Additionally, rooted cuttings result in a mature plant more rapidly than do seedlings, reducing the mortality problem due to herbivore feeding. Finally, mother plants which are well adapted to a specific site may be reproduced, increasing the probability of success once the plantlets are reintroduced into the field. There were three primary objectives of this research. The first was to evaluate the effects of rooting hormones, season, and maturity of the wood on the rooting of cuttings of blackbrush. The second, was to evaluate response of blackbrush to mount layering with mother plants receiving normal or supplemental water. Finally, we evaluated the reintroduction of all plantlets to the field using proper planting times, soil preparation, and water harvesting techniques. The ultimate goal was to establish procedures for propagating blackbrush and reestablishing it onto disturbed sites within the National Parks.