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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #389716

Research Project: Management of Fire Ants and Other Invasive Ants

Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research

Title: Prairie strips and lower land use intensity increase biodiversity and ecosystem services

item KEMMERLING, LINDSEY - Michigan State University
item RUTKOSKI, CORINN - Michigan State University
item EVANS, SARAH - Michigan State University
item Helms Iv, Jackson
item CORDOVA-ORTIZ, ESBEIRY - Michigan State University
item SMITH, JAMIE - Michigan State University
item VASQUEZ-CUSTODIO, JORGE - University Of Puerto Rico
item VIZZA, CARMELLA - Michigan State University
item HADDAD, NICK - Michigan State University

Submitted to: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/30/2022
Publication Date: 5/10/2022
Citation: Kemmerling, L.R., Rutkoski, C.E., Evans, S.E., Helms IV, J.A., Cordova-Ortiz, E.S., Smith, J.D., Vasquez-Custodio, J.A., Vizza, C., Haddad, N.M. 2022. Prairie strips and lower land use intensity increase biodiversity and ecosystem services. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 10(833170):1-18.

Interpretive Summary: We use long-term landscape experiments to test the environmental impacts of various farming practices in the U.S. Corn Belt. We focus on biodiversity of several groups of organisms (soil microbes, butterflies, dung beetles, spiders, and ants) as well as important ecosystem services provided by croplands (crop yield, decomposition, pollination, soil chemistry, and greenhouse gas emissions). We synthesize our results across organisms, services, and management techniques to report overall environmental impacts of different farming practices. Our results will shed light on how to maximize the overall benefits to humans and to other species.

Technical Abstract: Management of agricultural landscapes is crucial for the production of biodiversity and maintenance of ecosystem services to support a growing population. One method to diversity agricultural landscapes in the US Midwest is to restore strips of prairie on row crop farms. Prairie strips can provide disproportionate benefits to biodiversity and ecosystem services on farms without sacrificing crop yield. It is not clear how prairie strips interact with other management practices to impact biodiversity and ecosystem services. The mechanisms by which restoring land within an agroecosystem impacts biodiversity, ecosystem services, and yield are also largely known. We tested these mechanisms by working in a 33-year-old experiment that compared conservation land with several methods of agricultural management, including conventional, no-tillage, reduced input, and organic farming, as well as the use of prairie strips. We addressed three questions: 1) What are the synergies and tradeoffs among biodiversity and ecosystem services across methods of crop management? 2) How does distance from a prairie strip affect biodiversity and ecosystem services in an agricultural landscape? 3) How does time since prairie strip establishment affect biodiversity and ecosystem services in an agricultural landscape? We show that the conversion of 5% of cropland to prairie strips increased pollination services and butterfly richness within the first two years of establishment. Compared to conventional and organic treatments, crop yield was highest in no tillage treatments without prairie strips and in reduced input plus prairie strip treatments. Spider family richness, active soil carbon, decomposition services, and pollination services decreased with distance from prairie strips, an effect that increased between the first and second year. We also measured dung beetle richness, greenhouse gas emissions, and soil C;N. Our results show that, even early during their establishment phase, prairie strips can contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services without sacrificing crop yield.