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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #323074

Title: Soil microbial communities and soil health in native and reconstructed prairie ecosystems

item KREMER, ROBERT - Retired ARS Employee
item Veum, Kristen
item LORENZ, TODD - University Of Missouri

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2015
Publication Date: 11/18/2015
Citation: Kremer, R.J., Veum, K.S., Lorenz, T. 2015. Soil microbial communities and soil health in native and reconstructed prairie ecosystems [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meetings, November 15-18, 2015, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Paper No. 91349. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Ecosystems that maximize soil organic matter and good soil structure maintain high soil biological functioning, soil health and plant growth. Natural ecosystems such as prairies are valuable benchmarks for developing sustainable crop and soil management practices. Soil biological properties critical for successful ecosystem functioning and optimum soil health include microbial diversity and soil carbon content and quality. Soil microbial diversity may be the most valuable property of any ecosystem because high diversity provides a greater range of pathways for primary production and ecological processes (i.e., nutrient cycling). Management during reconstruction of native prairie ecosystems is aimed at increasing microbial diversity and soil health often on sites that have been subjected to long-term intensive cultivation resulting in deteriorated soil conditions. Soil health assessment models used during establishment of perennial ecosystems serve as a basis for monitoring and developing environmentally responsible management systems. Soil health status determined in prairie ecosystems thereby serves as a valuable reference to guide restoration of soil biological function, plant productivity and environmental quality.