Study

Effect of species seed mix and fertilizer input on northern tallgrass prairie restorations, NDSU Albert Ekre Grassland Preserve, North Dakota, USA

  • Published source details Biondini M. (2007) Plant diversity, production, stability, and susceptibility to invasion in restored northern tall grass prairies (United States). Restoration Ecology, 15, 77-87

Summary

Within the context of northern tall grass prairie restoration in the USA, a study was undertaken at the NDSU Albert Ekre Grassland Preserve, southeast North Dakota (46°33′N, 97°7′W), to identify the most efficacious seed mix and fertilizer addition combinations.

The experiment comprised 50 species mixtures fertilized with nitrogen (N) or phosphorous (P) at high (200 kg/ha/yr for N; 40 kg for P), or low levels (20 kg/ha/yr N; 4 kg P). N and P were applied in the early spring year as slow release prills.
 
In plots (3 x 3 m) 1, 2, 5, 10, or 20 plant species were hand broadcast and covered with a thin layer of soil (10 replications/treatment; total 400 plots). Most were sown in autumn 1999 (some in the following spring). Seeding rate was 400 seeds per m2 (equal amount/species).
 
Aboveground biomass by species, species foliar cover and number of species per plot was assessed in sample quadrats (2000-2004).

Overall, results indicate that invasion by unsown (and mostly undesired) species drastically declined as the number of species sown/established increased, and where there was greater functional form richness.
 
Overtime, aboveground biomass increased and year-to-year variation in productivity declined as species and functional form richness rose. Highest biomass occurred in the high N treatment, and next the low N. P addition had little effect, as expected, due to high available P in the soil prior to the experiment.
 
 
Note: If using or referring to this published study, please read and quote the original paper, this can be viewed at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1526-100X.2006.00192.x/full

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