Camping has severely impacted soil and vegetation in many natural areas. Effective techniques for restoring native vegetation are needed, particularly at high elevations. This study assessed the effectiveness of transplanting and restoration treatments designed to improve the physical, biological, and chemical properties of soils (scarification and amendments of organic matter, compost, and soil inoculum), and ameliorate microclimatic conditions (application of a biodegradable mulch mat) on six closed campsites in subalpine forests in Oregon. Most transplants (68%) were still alive seven years after transplanting. Mean area and height of surviving transplants increased 39% and 19%, respectively, over the seven years. Transplanting success varied among species. Graminoids survived most frequently, while tree species grew most rapidly. Only 45% of the shrub transplants survived and the canopy area of most survivors decreased. Shrubs constitute about 70% of the undisturbed groundcover. The soil amendments, particularly addition of compost and organic matter, increased the growth of transplants but had little effect on survivorship. Effects were most pronounced for graminoids and diminished after the fourth year of the experiment. The application of a biodegradable mulch mat had no effect. Transplanting locally collected plants is an effective means of accelerating the restoration of damaged campsites in these subalpine forests. However, the more elaborate treatments were only modestly successful in increasing transplanting success. They did not overcome the difficulty of restoring sustainable populations of the shrubs Vaccinium scoparium and Phyllodoce empetriformis.
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