The Tallgrass Prairie Center Guide to Prairie Restoration in the Upper Midwest

The Tallgrass Prairie Center Guide to Prairie Restoration in the Upper Midwest


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Although less than 3 percent of the original vast landscape survives, the tallgrass prairie remains a national treasure, glowing with a vast array of colorful wildflowers in spring and summer, enriched by the warm reds and browns of grasses in fall and winter. This comprehensive manual, crafted by the staff of the Tallgrass Prairie Center at the University of Northern Iowa, will be an essential companion for everyone dedicated to planning, developing, and maintaining all types of prairie restorations and reconstructions in the tallgrass prairie region of Iowa, northern Illinois, northwestern Indiana, southwestern Wisconsin, southwestern Minnesota, eastern South Dakota, eastern Nebraska, northwestern Missouri, and northeastern Kansas.

Focusing on conservation plantings, prairie recovery, native landscaping in yards and at schools, roadside plantings, and pasture renovations, the authors—who collectively have more than a hundred years of experience with prairie restoration—have created a manual that will be particularly useful to landowners, conservation agency personnel, ecosystem managers, native-seeding contractors, prairie enthusiasts, teachers, and roadside managers. A wealth of color and black-and-white photographs taken in the field as well as checklists and tables support the detailed text, which also includes useful online and print sources and references, a glossary, and lists of common and scientific names of all plant species discussed.

The text is divided into five parts. Part I, Reconstruction Planning, provides an overall summary of the entire process, information about securing good-quality seed, and the design of seed mixes. In Part II, Implementing Reconstruction, the authors consider ways to prepare and seed the site, manage the site in its first growing season, identify seedlings, and evaluate success. Part III, Prairie Restoration and Management, deals with identifying and assessing prairie remnants, working toward a predetermined restoration goal, and managing restored prairie remnants and completed reconstructions, including prescribed burning. Chapters in Part IV, Special Cases, discuss the uses of prairie in public spaces, roadside vegetation management, and landscaping on a smaller scale in yards and outdoor classrooms. Part V, Native Seed Production, describes the processes of harvesting, drying, cleaning, and storing native seed as well as propagating and transplanting native seedlings.

Although we cannot recreate the original blacksoil prairie, tallgrass prairie restoration offers the opportunity to reverse environmental damage and provide for the recovery of vital aspects of this lost ecosystem. Anyone in the Upper Midwest who wishes to improve water quality, reduce flood damage, support species diversity, preserve animal habitats, and enjoy the changing panorama of grasses and wildflowers will benefit from the clear, careful text and copious illustrations in this authoritative guide.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781587299162
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Publication date: 08/28/2010
Series: Bur Oak Guide
Edition description: 1
Pages: 338
Sales rank: 1,185,320
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Daryl Smith is the founding director of the Tallgrass Prairie Center and professor of biology and science education at the University of Northern Iowa. Dave Williams is the special projects coordinator at the Tallgrass Prairie Center. Greg Houseal is the program manager for the Iowa Ecotype Project at the Tallgrass Prairie Center. Kirk Henderson manages the University of Northern Iowa Roadside Program for the Tallgrass Prairie Center

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Why This Manual? Daryl Smith xi

Introduction: Returning Prairie to the Upper Midwest Daryl Smith xvii

Part 1 Reconstruction Planning

1 Preparing and Planning for a Reconstruction Daryl Smith 3

2 Seed Slource and Quality Greg Houseal 12

3 Designing Seed Mixes Dave Williams 23

Part 2 Implementing Reconstruction

4 Site Preparation Dave Williams 39

5 Seeding Dave Williams 56

6 First-Season Management Dave Williams 73

7 Evaluating Stand Establishment and Seedling Identification Dave Williams 82

Part 3 Prairie Restoration and Management

8 Identifying and Assessing Remnants Greg Houseal 105

9 The Restoration of Degraded Prairie Remnants Daryl Smith 119

10 Prairie Management Daryl Smith 134

Part 4 Special Cases

11 Prairie in Public Places Dave Williams 157

12 Roadsides and Other Erodible Sites Kirk Henderson 170

13 Small Prairie Plantings Kirk Henderson 193

Part 5 Native Seed Production

14 Seed Harvesting Greg Houseal 209

15 Drying, Cleaning, and Storing Prairie Seed Greg Houseal 225

16 Propagating and Transplanting Seedlings Greg Houseal 239

Epilogue: The Future of Tallgrass Restoration Daryl Smith 261

Glossary 265

Common and Scientific Names of Plants Mentioned in This Guide 273

References 285

Index 295

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