Garden of the Gods Restoration Monitoring

A program to measure the effectiveness of vegetation restoration treatments in this heavily used urban park.
RMFI studies the effectiveness of restoration strategies in Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods research program focuses on measuring the effectiveness of vegetation treatments applied to degraded areas within the park. Restoration treatments aim to restore those areas to a pre-disturbance condition.

Since 2000, RMFI has been restoring severely degraded areas in the park affected by the intense recreational use the park receives. Numerous restoration projects have been completed since 2002 to eliminate gullies that were formed along non-designated, user-created "social" trails. In addition, heavily-used trails such as the Strausenback and Upper Loop have been reconstructed and revegetation techniques were applied to address impacted areas near the trails. Restoration techniques focus on encouraging the reestablishment of native plant communities.

To assess the effectiveness of RMFI's vegetation techniques, 13 plots have been established throughout restoration project sites completed between 2006 and 2011. Overall, effectiveness will be determined by the presence and prevalence of native species, successful establishment of native woody species, and overall vegetation coverage.