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Grantee Research Project Results

Patch-burn Grazing as a Tool for the Ecological Management of Invasive Species and Restoration of Carbon Sequestration and Ecosystem Processes in Working Landscapes

EPA Grant Number: SU834719
Title: Patch-burn Grazing as a Tool for the Ecological Management of Invasive Species and Restoration of Carbon Sequestration and Ecosystem Processes in Working Landscapes
Investigators: Engle, David M , McGranahan, Devan Allen , Veenstra, Jessica J
Institution: Iowa State University , Oklahoma State University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010)
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Agriculture

Description:

Objective:

Demonstrate patch-burn grazing as a low-energy means of reducing invasive species abundance without herbicides while increasing the carbon sequestration potential of grassland without significant interruption to economic activity.

Investigate the relationship between invasive species abundance, native vegetation communities, and carbon sequestration potential on working (grazed) grassland.

Approach:

Potential for carbon sequestration will be compared across invaded and uninvaded native grassland via 2m-deep soil profile analysis within each permanent vegetation plot. Soil organic carbon (SOC) and root biomass at 10-20 cm depth intervals will be collected. Change in native and exotic species richness and abundance will be monitored on permanent vegetation plots before and after fire and grazing treatments, sampled at periods of peak biomass production.

Expected Results:

Short term - The results of the project will increase information on carbon dynamics under working grassland, and provide a low-input dual conservation/production practice that increases perennial cover and net income while reducing herbicide used to control invasive plants. The practice also should reduce reliance on herbicides, energy consumption and carbon footprint.

Intermediate term - Water quality improvement with reduced herbicide use and with a stable grassland agriculture sector, which will reduce soil erosion and sedimentation in streams and reservoirs as compared to the alternative of row-crop agriculture. The carbon sequestration potential of working grassland could be greatly improved through the adoption of patch-burn grazing, with obvious environmental and economic benefits to farmers, other land managers/stakeholders, and their landscape.

Supplemental Keywords:

sustainable grazing, fire-grazing interaction, sustainable beef production, prairie management, ecological invasive species control,

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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