Restoration age and quality effects on dynamic soil properties at Nachusa Grasslands in Franklin Grove, IL
Smith, Sarah (Graduate student)
MetadataShow full item record
Land use and management are key factors influencing the quality and function of soil as measured through dynamic soil properties. This study was conducted to quantify the differences in soil quality indicators across a chronosequence of prairie restorations of varying vegetative quality, as well as across different agricultural tillage systems including no-till, conservation, and conventional. Prairie restorations were chosen from a 3,100 acre Nature Conservancy site in Franklin Grove, IL known as Nachusa Grasslands, and agricultural fields were selected during a survey of farmers across north-central Illinois. The dynamic soil properties bulk density, aggregate stability, organic carbon, particulate organic matter (POM), color, and structure, along with texture were analyzed using standard laboratory and field methods. Land use had a significant impact on all properties observed, with total organic carbon being the only one to not be significantly different from agriculture to prairie restoration. All properties were on a positive trend back towards pre-settlement levels. Similarly, tillage system type also had a significant impact on all properties except total organic carbon. In almost every case, no-till and conservation tillage had better values for the properties observed, indicating the positive benefits have less compaction and more residue cover on soil.