Madelaine Claire Gregory, Anna R. Pallone, Valerie Nicole Thurston


Presentation: 9:00-10:15, Kennedy Union Ballroom



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The abandonment of fields once used for industrial agriculture is an increasing phenomenon within the Midwest as well as on a global scale.Management practices used in agriculture such as tilling, intensive herbicide and pesticide use, and establishing monocultures of crops results in disturbance and poor soil quality which creates obstacles for native establishment. This study began in the summer of 2019 with the establishment of 20 (50 × 50 m) square plots in a former agricultural field, each of which received one of four native prairie seed treatments that varied by number of species present (diversity) and weight of legume (5% or 20%). These plots were then sub-divided into 4 subplots, each of which received one of four soil amendments. Soil samples were collected for the assessment of (a) nutrient levels and (b) activity of carbon cycling enzymes Phenol Oxidase, Peroxidase and β-glucosidase. Our data suggests that in response to time soil nutrients are shifting in a direction that is more reflective of restored conditions. Additionally, there is a significant decrease in activity of carbon cycling enzymes Phenol Oxidase and β-glucosidase in response to time and treatments applied. Developing techniques to transition post-agricultural lands to biodiverse and functioning ecosystems is a foundational scientific challenge locally, regionally, and globally. Our project has the potential to influence many restoration projects given that our results may inform management practices.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Ryan W. McEwan

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Assessing the effectiveness of soil amendments and prairie seed mixes in remediating degraded soil during ecological restoration following industrial agriculture.