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Monday, June 3 • 11:30am - 11:55am
In-field Prairie Plantings as a Means to Increase Native Plant Diversity in an Agricultural Landscape FILLING

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Scientific Trials of Row-Crops Integrated with Prairie Strips (STRIPS) is a collaborative effort between scientists, farmers, extension personnel, and educators to integrate prairie habitat into working agricultural fields. Strategically planted along the contour or at the edge-of-field, prairie strips are an effective conservation practice that yields disproportionate benefits relative to the amount of land taken out of crop production. Converting just 10% of a crop field to prairie has been shown to reduce soil and nitrogen loss in run-off from fields by 90% and 85%, respectively. Concurrently, prairie strips increase native plant, bird, and pollinator abundance on the landscape.  
Monitoring the vegetation community in prairie strips is important for assessing the success of the practice as well as informing future planting strategies. We examined the vegetation at 21 farms in the summer of 2018 that planted prairie strips in their field(s) between 2012 and 2016. Our preliminary results show that cover by prairie species is not related to factors such as stand age, and that diversity of the plant communities declines as sites get older. Monitoring the vegetation at these sites will continue to provide valuable information for both restoration ecologists and farmers adopting this conservation practice. Prairie strips appear to offer a viable approach for integrating agricultural production with conservation and diversifying the Midwestern landscape.


Lydia English

Iowa State University

Monday June 3, 2019 11:30am - 11:55am CDT
Room 1418, The Forest Room