Changes in Nitrogen and Carbon Cycling at Multiple Scales Across a Chronosequence of Prairie Restoration Sites

EPA Grant Number: U915844
Title: Changes in Nitrogen and Carbon Cycling at Multiple Scales Across a Chronosequence of Prairie Restoration Sites
Investigators: Lane, Diana R.
Institution: University of Illinois at Chicago
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: June 1, 2000 through June 1, 2002
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems


The objectives of this research project are to: (1) characterize spatial and temporal changes in nitrogen cycling along a chronosequence of prairie restoration sites; and (2) determine the biotic and abiotic controllers of such changes.


The research approach involves sampling five restoration sites from a chronosequence of tallgrass prairie restoration sites at FermiLab, as well as an old field site and nearby prairie remnant. The youngest site was restored in 2000; the oldest site was restored in 1975. Restoration sites share similar soils and management histories. Eight replicate sub-plots were established at each site for soil, vegetation, and micro-environment measurements. Soil measurements are made on 5 cm x 15 cm deep soil cores at each sub-plot. Soil measurements include total C, total N, available N, pH, soil texture, and net N mineralization. Geostatistical techniques, based on an intensive sampling scheme at a subset of plots, will be used to quantify differences in the scale and magnitude of spatial heterogeneity for total C, total N, and available N. Vegetation measurements include aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP), belowground biomass, species cover, and species diversity. Microenvironment measurements include soil moisture (measured with Time Domain Reflectometry) and soil temperature at 5 and 15 cm below the soil surface. A litter decomposition experiment will be used to assess changes in decomposition rates across the chronosequence.

Expected Results:

The research will provide important information for scientists who want to understand how to improve restoration success, and for policy makers who need to assess the societal value of restoration.

Supplemental Keywords:

restoration, tallgrass prairie, land, soil, ecosystem, terrestrial, ecology, central, Midwest, Illinois, IL, plants., Scientific Discipline, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, Geochemistry, Restoration, Ecology and Ecosystems, Agronomy, Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration, carbon cycling, prairie reconstruction, aboveground net primary productivity, conservation, restoration strategies, ecological recovery, nitrogen compounds, prairie vegetation

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000
  • Final