Prairie Reconstruction: Seed Mix Design and First Year Management

Justin Meissen

Publication Date:

There is an emerging role for large ag conservation programs (CRP) to address more complex ecological issues using native vegetation, but resources to implement these programs are increasingly constrained. How can conservation programs achieve greater impact with limited resources, and what ecological benefits are provided per unit project cost? In this talk, we explore how seed mix design and establishment management influence cost-effectiveness and the provision of ecological benefits. Using results from a field experiment in Iowa, we show how balancing grass-to-forb ratio in seed mixes can promote multifunctionality and cost-effectiveness in prairie reconstructions, and how repeated first year mowing accelerates the provision of ecological benefits. Justin Meissen leads the Research and Restoration Program at the Tallgrass Prairie Center.  Justin’s focus is on implementing restoration research and demonstration projects, developing training seminars, and developing technical materials. He has a PhD in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota and a BS in Integrative Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Justin has worked professionally in restoration ecology and botany from North Carolina to California with The Nature Conservancy, The Audubon Society, and other non-profits and environmental contractors. His past work evaluated the risks of repeated, intensive seed harvest from native tallgrass prairies to supply large-scale prairie restoration. Justin’s current research interests concentrate on issues of increasing cost-effectiveness and outcome certainty in prairie reconstructions.

Resource Type:

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program