Archive | Native Prairie

Native prairie is one of the rarest ecosystem in North America and its acreage continues to decline. The loss of prairie can be attributed to two separate causes: agriculture/urban development and woody encroachment due to lack of proper grazing and/or fire management. Our research focuses on restoring and maintaining prairie ecosystems to increase biodiversity.

Managed grazing in WICST prairies: Tradeoffs between plant functional diversity, forage availability, and resistance to weed invasion

To explore the relationships between plant functional diversity, forage production, and forage quality in native grasslands managed for sequential grazing, managed grazing was employed across a diversity gradient in reconstructed tallgrass prairie communities. A well-established switchgrass monoculture was compared to reconstructed (planted) prairies that had been seeded with varying levels of native plant functional diversity [...] More »

Effect of N-fertilizer and harvest timing on biomass yields and quality in Panicum virgatum l. and restored prairie in the upper Midwest

Native warm-season grasses of the tallgrass prairie are anticipated to be a significant source of cellulosic biofuel feedstocks for renewable energy, as well as deliver additional ecossytem services, such as mitigate nitrogen (N) losses to the environment. Whether additional services are realized, however will depend largely on how these perrenial bioenergy crops are managed. [...] More »

Managed grazing with dairy heifers: Integrating cool- and warm-season grasses for improved seasonal productivity

Managed grazing in Wisconsin has been a growing fraction of the dairy industry for nearly 20 years. A recent survey by Wis-DATCP (Paine and Gildersleeve, 2011) revealed that 22% of all dairy farms now practice some managed grazing, highest in the Southwest (28%) and in each of North central and West central regions (23%), [...] More »

Forage Production and Quality of Restored Prairie Interseeded with Native Legumes

Motivations for restoring tallgrass prairie in the Upper Midwest range from natural resource conservation to developing new forage and cropping systems. Cropping systems based on the tallgrass prairie may be well-suited to providing reliable summer forage for livestock, feedstocks for home heating, electricity production, and ethanol, as well as ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration. [...] More »

Effects of Plant Diversity and Management on Nitrogen Retention in Perennial Biomass Production Systems

There is increasing pressure on agroecosystems to provide fuel in addition to food. In order to sustainably meet these demands, we must improve the nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of crops because of the high costs of producing N-fertilizers and the loss of nitrogen to water and atmospheric sinks can be a major problem. [...] More »

The Importance of Species Composition versus Diversity in Restored Prairie a Decade Later

Since the 19th century, nearly all of Wisconsin’s native grasslands have been transformed into agricultural monocultures. Other human practices such as fire suppression and urban development degraded remaining remnant prairies and significantly altered their structure and function (Anderson et al. 1996). These human-induced changes, combined with the introduction of exotic species, have contributed [...] More »

Potential Carbon Sequestration Increases with C4 Grass Abundance in Restored Prairie of Southern Wisconsin

The tallgrass prairie, which is dominated by warm-season (C4 photosynthesis) grasses has been transformed mainly into grassland/agricultural mosaics if not totally converted to annual crops (Rhemtulla et al., 2007). Interest in restoring the native prairie has increased at the same time that the potential for increasing soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration when degraded soils [...] More »

Effects of Bioenergy Agroecosystems on Soil Microbial Communities

There is growing societal interest in management of agricultural systems for bioenergy feedstock production, but further environmental evaluation of these systems is warranted. Measurement of soil microbial communities and activity may be useful in environmental evaluations of alternative bioenergy cropping systems, as they are important components of soil health. We characterized microbial community [...] More »

Summary of Corn Yields on WICST “Prairie” Corn Plots: 2001-2006

In the spring of 1999 two tall-grass prairie treatments were established in what had previously been a grass waterway in the southern tier of the WICST plots at the Arlington Research Station. The purpose of the prairie plots was to create a native grasslands benchmark for the environmental variables being monitored on the WICST plots. [...] More »

Prairie Establishment on Prime Agricultural Soils

This project, initiated in 1999, had two objectives: 1) to learn how to reestablish prairie on rich agricultural soils; and 2) to establish a natural “check” for environment variables (e.g soil health variables, CO2 sequestration) in the heart of the core cropping systems trial. The experimental variables for prairie establishment were high and low [...] More »