Lauren Corrigan, Emily Berkshire, Victoria Jacobs, Madeleine Cachat, Palmer Lambert
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Solar power is increasing in Ohio. There is little research on how the development of solar arrays affect ecological processes. Additionally, there is interest in making the area underneath solar arrays useful habitat by planting native plants underneath. Here we investigated how a solar prairie affects ecosystem structure (plant biomass, litter mass, canopy cover, and soil properties) by comparing a developed solar field with a prairie underneath to two mowed lawns that the City of Dayton is considering developing solar at. We found that the solar prairie created more canopy cover, increased plant biomass, and indirectly created more litter mass all while maintaining suitable soil conditions. These are all conditions that create microclimates for organisms to thrive. The other two sites containing only open, manicured fields had less canopy cover, plant biomass, and litter mass but did also contain suitable soil conditions. Creating a solar prairie can enhance ecosystem structure, and be a useful habitat for organisms that may colonize the area.
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences
"The Implementation of Solar Prairies Affects Ecosystem Structure" (2023). Stander Symposium Projects. 2887.