Diversifying agricultural catchments by incorporating tallgrass prairie buffer strips

  • Published source details Hirsh S.M., Mabry C.M., Schulte L.A. & Liebman M.Z. (2013) Diversifying agricultural catchments by incorporating tallgrass prairie buffer strips. Ecological Restoration, 31, 201-211.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Sow seeds in part of site

Action Link
Grassland Conservation
  1. Sow seeds in part of site

    A replicated study in 2006–2011 in nine arable fields in Iowa, USA (Hirsh et al. 2013) found that after sowing seeds in strips within the fields, the total number of plant species and the number and cover of native plant species increased with time. From 1–4 years after strips were seeded, there were increases in the total number of plant species (from 38 to 55 species), and the number (from 25 to 39 species) and cover (from 38 to 69%) of native plant species. The cultivated part of fields with planted strips had similar numbers (11–15 species) and cover (5–7%) of weeds to fields without strips (13 species, 4% cover). Twelve arable fields of 0.5–3.2 ha were studied. In nine fields, one to three strips, comprising 10–20% of the field area, were tilled and seeded with 31 species of locally-collected tallgrass prairie seeds in July 2007, and mowed annually. Three fields were left as entire crop fields cultivated with a corn-soybean rotation, and treated with synthetic fertiliser and glyphosate. Plant cover and species were recorded in twelve 0.5-m2 quadrats within the planted strips and 12 quadrats within the crop area of each field each summer from 2008–2011.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 19

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust