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Diane Larson

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The best hope for recovering and maintaining ecosystem function and services for the tallgrass prairie ecosystem is reconstruction. To that end, tallgrass prairie reconstruction efforts are on-going across federal, state, and non-profit organizations and among private landowners throughout the upper Midwest. Despite this heightened activity, a framework for comprehensive evaluation and adaptive learning from past reconstruction efforts is lacking. With an increasing percentage of already limited natural resource budgets being applied to reconstruction activities, it is imperative that we make the best use of these funds by developing best practices for reconstructions. The growing number of completed reconstructions...
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Proposal narrative and preliminary fact sheet for this project to improve the practice of prairie reconstruction by developing criteria by which success can be measured and related to reconstruction methodology. To accomplish this goal, the project will utilize past reconstruction efforts and records for two of the largest tallgrass prairie reconstructions in North America, Neal Smith National wildlife Refuge near Des Moines, Iowa and Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge near Crookston, Minnesota. The extensive size, prolonged timeline, and records of seeding practices and site management that were kept for the reconstructions at these two refuges provide an ideal resource for evaluating which factors best predict...
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There is growing interest in the facilitated movement of plants as a means of conserving or restoring species and habitats, as climate conditions and management goals change. For example, plants might be relocated to support pollinator conservation or the restoration of prairies. Some land managers, in an effort to be proactive in the face of changing environmental conditions, are also considering relocating plants to sites that are considered more similar to anticipated future conditions. However, moving plants can be ecologically and economically risky. It’s possible that pests, pathogens, or contaminant weeds can be inadvertently moved along with the target plant material. In 2016, the noxious weed Palmer amaranth...
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