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Title: “Long-term restoration of tallgrass prairie”

Researcher: Dr. Andrew MacDougall, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph


Tallgrass prairie formerly occupied 80,000 to 100,000 hectares in southwestern Ontario but less than 5% of that remains. Andrew plans to convert an agricultural field on rare property (most recently used to grow soybeans) into a native tallgrass prairie.

There are several main goals of this research.  The first is to determine the factors that ensure success in prairie restoration especially the ability of tallgrass prairies to resist invasion from non-target species; particularly exotic agronomic grasses.  The second objective is to determine the factors that influence the pattern of distribution of plant species in a tallgrass prairie.; i.e. are these factors environmental or. non-environmental?  The third objective is to restore a tallgrass prairie research site that will eventually look like a tallgrass prairie rather than a checkerboard pattern of research plots that will require constant maintenance.  This sampling design will help address the research questions but will also restore the function of this ecosystem for creatures such as birds, insects and small mammals.  The research project consists of a five-year building phase followed by a longer-term monitoring and manipulation phase.