Forest management and products and biogeochemical cycling in natural and managed landscapes.
Strategically integrating small amounts of perennial vegetation (in our case, reconstructed prairie) within row-cropped watersheds offers the opportunity to enhance the health and diversity of Midwestern agricultural landscapes. This project will explore this hypothesis through an integrated watershed-scale approach that uses field experimentation, spatial models, and tradeoff assessments to quantify changes in ecological functioning and economic outputs resulting from different configurations of perennial and annual plants. Integral to the project is the effective communication of project results to catalyze further tests of this practice on the landscape.
This project encompasses a large scale experiment in Costa Rica, laboratory experiments in Iowa, and modeling with CENTURY. We explore how tropical tree species influence ecosystem processes. The focus currently is on carbon and nutrient cycling, microbial processes, ecosystem modeling, and restoration of degraded landscapes.
Invasive plant species are plants that are not native to an ecosystem and potentially cause economic or environmental damage to the area. Many plants have been introduced into the north central United States without much impact, but a few species, such as garlic mustard, buckthorn, multiflora rose, and bush honeysuckle, have become very problematic and are impacting woodlands severely. The extent of these species' invasion needs to be known before a plan of action can be developed.