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10 December 2021 Mixed-Prairie Well Site Reclamation with Natural Recovery, Seeding, and Grazing,
Etienne M.J. Soulodre, Amalesh Dhar, M. Anne Naeth
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Reclamation of surface disturbances on grasslands is an important management issue. This research examined how cattle grazing and revegetation treatments influenced vegetation development on mixed-prairie well sites. Three seed mix treatments, dominant wheatgrass (a Triticeae tribe) (four species providing 95% wheatgrass seed in the seed mix), nondominant wheatgrass (five species with 80% nonwheatgrasses in the seed mix), and diverse (22 grass and forb species), plus a natural recovery (unseeded) treatment, with and without cattle grazing, were compared with undisturbed (control) prairie for soil seedbank, vegetation composition, ground cover, and biomass. The nondominant wheatgrass seed mix resulted in communities dominated by wheatgrass species, whereas natural recovery was dominated by early and midseral species. Seeding yielded greater aboveground biomass with < 20% bare ground; natural recovery biomass was slightly less with greater bare ground (grazed 45%, ungrazed 23%). Cattle grazing reduced cover of northern wheatgrass (Elymus lanceolatus [Scribn. & J.G.Sm.] Gould) in seeded treatments. Species richness and diversity were greater with natural recovery than with seeding and in undisturbed prairie. Multivariate tests showed that plant community composition in undisturbed prairie and natural recovery differed from seeded treatments; natural recovery was dominated by early to mid-successional species. The short-term patterns of change in different vegetation parameters suggest that irrespective of grazing, natural recovery and seeding with a diverse native seed mix could be effective approaches for mixed-prairie reclamation.

© 2021 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Etienne M.J. Soulodre, Amalesh Dhar, and M. Anne Naeth "Mixed-Prairie Well Site Reclamation with Natural Recovery, Seeding, and Grazing,," Rangeland Ecology and Management 79(1), 208-216, (10 December 2021).
Received: 19 February 2021; Accepted: 7 September 2021; Published: 10 December 2021
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