Tag Archives: plant diversity

Konza Prairie Trip Part 3 – Questions About Frequent Prairie Burning

A few weeks ago, I wrote about our trip to the Konza Prairie Biological Station in eastern Kansas.  On that trip, we learned about research results showing that frequent spring fires (one or two year frequency) can prevent encroachment of … Continue reading

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Conservation Grazing in Iowa

I got the chance to spend a couple days in Iowa last week, talking about conservation grazing with staff of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  They invited me to join a two day workshop discussing various ways to use … Continue reading

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Is Poison Hemlock Repelled By Plant Diversity? Early Results Say Yes

How important is plant diversity?  Most ecologists think it’s a critical component of resilient ecosystems.  Last week I collected some data that lends support to that view.  In some experimental prairie plantings we’ve established in our Platte River Prairies, plant diversity appears to be suppressing the invasion … Continue reading

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Dealing With a Pervasive Invasive – Kentucky Bluegrass in Prairies

Many of the prairies we manage have pretty degraded plant communities, characterized by low plant diversity and dominance by a few grass species – including the invasive Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis).  Our primary objective for these prairies is to increase plant diversity, … Continue reading

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Quantifying the Value of Plant Diversity

Why is plant diversity important?  I can come up with lots of reasons, including the value to pollinators, correlations between plant and insect diversity, and contributions to ecological resilience – among others.   But it’s much more difficult to quantify the specific functional differences between high-diversity and low-diversity … Continue reading

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Patch-Burn Grazing in Missouri Prairies

If you read this blog frequently, you know I manage many of our prairies with combinations of prescribed fire and grazing.  I like the heterogeneous habitat structure I get from patch-burn grazing, and have documented benefits to plant diversity in our prairies.  (I’ve … Continue reading

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Photo of the Week – June 30, 2011

It’s a great time to hike the trails at The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies!  Regal fritillaries are out in force, along with a number of other butterfly and insect species, and big wildflower season has begun, with many of … Continue reading

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Neighborhood Watch

When making management plans for a prairie, it’s a good idea to look over the fence to see what the neighbors are doing.  It’s important to think about how your prairie fits into the landscape, and even more important to think about … Continue reading

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A Guide to Patch-Burn Grazing for Biological Diversity

Patch-burn grazing is getting a lot of attention from a wide variety of audiences these days.  The management system has generated substantial enthusiasm among some people – particularly those interested in improving habitat for prairie wildlife species.  It has also generated … Continue reading

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Using Defoliation of Dominant Grasses to Increase Prairie Plant Diversity

 In many prairies, the primary suppressors of plant diversity are dominant grasses – both native and non-native.  These grasses, left unchecked, can monopolize light, moisture, and nutrients to the point that few other plant species can coexist with them.  I’m … Continue reading

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