Effects of grazing on restoration of southern mixed prairie soils

Fuhlendorf, S. D., H. Zhang, T. R. Tunnell, D. M. Engle, A. F. Cross
Publication Year: 
Fuhlendorf et al. evaluated restored and native sites in Oklahoma, within long-term heavy and moderate grazing regimes, to determine if soil nutrients from reseeded cultivated land have recovered after 30 years of management. Authors assessed the similarities to the surrounding prairie and identified the interactive influence of different levels of grazing and history of cultivation on plant functional group composition and soils in mixed prairies. Analyses of soil nutrients among grazing treatments were only significantly different for NO3-N, with higher levels in moderate than heavily grazed grasslands. Within grazing treatments, soil carbon, total nitrogen, organic matter, NO3-N, and K were all significantly higher on sites that had not been cultivated and restored. It appears that grazing alters the extent of recovery of these grassland soils as indicated by the significant interaction between grazing intensity and cultivation history for soil nitrogen and soil carbon. Management of livestock grazing is likely to be a critical factor in determining the potential restoration of mixed prairies. However, it is evident from this study that regardless of grazing intensity, restoring native prairie soils requires many decades and possibly external inputs to restore organic matter, soil carbon, and soil nitrogen.
AGROVOC Keyword: 
Montana State University

The Range Science Information System (RSIS) bibliography has over 1,300 peer-reviewed bibliographic citations to professional journal articles and documents focused on: riparian, weeds, rangeland, wildlife, vegetation and soils research. Article bibliograhic citations include additional research information such as: the type of article (primary research, synthesis article or case study), location of study, a summary of methods or area of influence, major findings or main points, topic categories, and annotations.