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1 April 2011 A Comparison of the Arthropod Communities in Remnant, Restored, and Reconstructed Iowa Tallgrass Prairies
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The tallgrass prairie has become one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America. Thus, attempts to restore and reconstruct native tallgrass prairie have been undertaken. Arthropods, an important and diverse taxonomic group of animals, warrant greater attention on remnant and restored tallgrass prairies. A prairie arthropod survey in Iowa has not been attempted since the 1930s and no comprehensive surveys have been conducted on restorations in this state. A survey of insect and spider families was conducted using sweep net transects on three types of Iowa prairies: (1) remnants; (2) isolated restorations/reconstructions; and (3) landscape-scale integrated reconstructions. Richness and abundance of arthropod families differed slightly, although not significantly, between years and prairie types. The high level of similarity documented among prairies restorations and remnants might suggest restoration efforts have been successful for the establishment of the native arthropod community, or may simply reflect the absence of all but the most broadly adaptable insect and spider species from the heavily disrupted landscape. Both of these explanations may be accurate. Restoration efforts may be successful in maintaining a diverse community of native arthropods; however, prairie endemics may have already been extirpated. As natural and anthropogenic stressors and restoration practices continue to impact these systems, this basic arthropod community survey can serve as a baseline for future change.

Jessica M. Orlofske, Wayne J. Ohnesorg, and Diane M. Debinski "A Comparison of the Arthropod Communities in Remnant, Restored, and Reconstructed Iowa Tallgrass Prairies," Natural Areas Journal 31(2), 148-155, (1 April 2011).
Published: 1 April 2011

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