[permaculture] Ecosystem Diversity & Bio-mass: Prairies vs. Forests

Mark mpludwig at facstaff.wisc.edu
Fri Jul 5 11:14:09 EDT 2002

I tend to side with the prairie promoters, as much as anything because so 
much of it was wiped out by plow happy settlers.  You might try the 
following web sites
Nebraska state grassland institute.  Lots of links inc. TX A M.

(Might need some w's in there someplace)
KSU's Konza prairie site - one of the largest and best studied prairie 
remnants in the world (3500 ha/7000a).

The other nice thing about prairie restoration IMO is the relatively rapid 
establishment of a good functioning ecosystem compared to forest 
restoration and the relative ease of establishment if you know what you're 
doing.  The root mass and insect life underground is pretty phenomenal, 
goes down 5 meters, where as I understand it most of the action in forest 
systems is in the leaf litter.

At 08:13 PM 7/4/02 -0500, you wrote:
>Hello From Texas,
>I'm looking for studies and information about the diversity and bio-mass 
>of Texas prairies as compared to Texas woodlands.  Other general info is 
>also certainly welcome.
>Several folks whose main objective is restoring the prairies of Texas, a 
>very worthy endeavor, would do so at the expense of the woody brush and 
>woodlands that have begun to cover disturbed prairie lands - namely 
>juniper, mesuite and other "invasive" brush species.
>That prairies are more diverse than woodlands is another justification for 
>clearing trees.
>I'm also hearing that prairies have more bio-mass than forests, and that 
>prairies have a higher ratio of underground bio-mass than woodland systems do.
>Discussion and documented sources of information appreciated.
>Kirby Fry
>For the real scoop on environmental and social justice issues check out 
>the archives of Democracy 

Mark P. Ludwig
Poultry Research Lab
University of Wisconsin -Madison
608-262-1730 WK
608-846-7125 HM

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