Books published by faculty, staff, and students at the The Tallgrass Prairie Center
"The tallgrass prairie offers solutions to the many environmental challenges facing our water, soils, and ecosystems. Planting prairie on just 10 percent of a field can effectively remove excess phosphorous and nitrogen from the remaining 90 percent. Deep prairie roots and dense aboveground growth filter and hold soils, keeping them from eroding into our streams and rivers. Plants such as common milkweed are the key to the monarch butterfly's recovery. In light of these benefits, perhaps our love affair with European turf grass is slowly giving way to an appreciation of the beauty of our original native prairie. As interest in these wildflowers and grasses has grown, so has demand for better resources to identify the hundreds of species that make up the native prairie. In The Prairie in Seed, Dave Williams shows us how to identify wildflowers when they are out of bloom and, in particular, how to harvest their seeds. Without the flower color and shape as guides, it can be difficult to identify prairie plants. Imagine trying to distinguish between a simple prairie sunflower and an ox-eye sunflower with no flowers to look at! In this richly illustrated guide, Williams offers dormant plant identification information, seed descriptions, and advice on seed harvesting and cleaning for seventy-three of the most common wildflowers found in the tallgrass prairie. He includes photographs and descriptions of the plants in bloom and in seed to assist in finding them when you are ready to harvest. Each species description explains where the seeds are located on the plant, when seed ripening begins, and how many seeds each species produces, along with a photograph and approximate measurements of the actual seed. Finally, this guide provides assistance on how and when to hand-harvest seeds for each species, as well as some simple tips on seed cleaning. An indispensable guide for anyone involved in prairie restoration or conservation, this book is the perfect complement to Williams's The Tallgrass Prairie Center Guide to Seed and Seedling Identification in the Upper Midwest"--Provided by publisher
Josh Brandt, Kirk Henderson, Jim Uthe, and Maria Urice
The objective of this publication is to provide basic technical support for new and existing Iowa county roadside programs. The manual is also intended to provide guidance to policymakers and engineers interested in adopting or expanding integrated vegetation management in county right-of-way.
Daryl Smith, David W. Williams, Gregory A. Houseal, and Kirk Henderson
Although less than 3 percent of the original vast landscape survives, the tallgrass prairie remains a national treasure, glowing with a vast array of colorful wildflowers in spring and summer, enriched by the warm reds and browns of grasses in fall and winter. This comprehensive manual, crafted by the staff of the Tallgrass Prairie Center at the University of Northern Iowa, will be an essential companion for everyone dedicated to planning, developing, and maintaining all types of prairie restorations and reconstructions in the tallgrass prairie region of Iowa, northern Illinois, northwestern Indiana, southwestern Wisconsin, southwestern Minnesota, eastern South Dakota, eastern Nebraska, northwestern Missouri, and northeastern Kansas.
Focusing on conservation plantings, prairie recovery, native landscaping in yards and at schools, roadside plantings, and pasture renovations, the authors—who collectively have more than a hundred years of experience with prairie restoration—have created a manual that will be particularly useful to landowners, conservation agency personnel, ecosystem managers, native-seeding contractors, prairie enthusiasts, teachers, and roadside managers. A wealth of color and black-and-white photographs taken in the field as well as checklists and tables support the detailed text, which also includes useful online and print sources and references, a glossary, and lists of common and scientific names of all plant species discussed.
The text is divided into five parts. Part I, Reconstruction Planning, provides an overall summary of the entire process, information about securing good-quality seed, and the design of seed mixes. In Part II, Implementing Reconstruction, the authors consider ways to prepare and seed the site, manage the site in its first growing season, identify seedlings, and evaluate success. Part III, Prairie Restoration and Management, deals with identifying and assessing prairie remnants, working toward a predetermined restoration goal, and managing restored prairie remnants and completed reconstructions, including prescribed burning. Chapters in Part IV, Special Cases, discuss the uses of prairie in public spaces, roadside vegetation management, and landscaping on a smaller scale in yards and outdoor classrooms. Part V, Native Seed Production, describes the processes of harvesting, drying, cleaning, and storing native seed as well as propagating and transplanting native seedlings.
Although we cannot recreate the original black soil prairie, tallgrass prairie restoration offers the opportunity to reverse environmental damage and provide for the recovery of vital aspects of this lost ecosystem. Anyone in the Upper Midwest who wishes to improve water quality, reduce flood damage, support species diversity, preserve animal habitats, and enjoy the changing panorama of grasses and wildflowers will benefit from the clear, careful text and copious illustrations in this authoritative guide. -- Provided by publisher
David W. Williams
Settlers crossing the tallgrass prairie in the early 1800s were greeted by a seemingly endless landscape of wildflowers and grasses, one of the most diverse ecosystems on our planet. Today, although the tallgrass prairie has been reduced to a tiny percentage of its former expanse, people are working to restore and reconstruct prairie communities. This lavishly illustrated guide to seeds and seedlings, crafted by Tallgrass Prairie Center botanist Dave Williams and illustrator Brent Butler, will insure that everyone from urban gardeners to grassland managers can properly identify and germinate seventy-two species of tallgrass wildflowers and grasses in eastern North Dakota, eastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northwestern Indiana, Iowa, eastern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, northwestern Missouri, and eastern Oklahoma.
Williams has created a brilliant, nearly foolproof system of identification and verification. Two primary keys lead to eleven secondary keys that link to characteristic groups of tallgrass plants: seven groups for wildflowers and four groups for grasses. To identify a seedling, use the primary key to discover its place in the secondary key, then turn to that characteristic group to find your seedling. Circles on each full seedling photograph correspond to close-up photographs; triangles on these close-ups illustrate information in the text to further pinpoint identification. Drawings of leaves illuminate exact identification, and enlarged photographs of each seed provide yet another way to confirm identification.
Thousands of seeds were sprouted in the Tallgrass Prairie Center’s greenhouse to provide seedlings close in size and development to those grown in the field near the end of their first season; research and photography took place over four years. Williams’s text for each species includes a thorough description, a comparison of similar species, and guidance for germination and growth. A complete glossary supports the text, which is concise but detailed enough to be accessible to beginning prairie enthusiasts.
Anyone in the Upper Midwest who wishes to preserve the native vegetation of prairie remnants or reconstruct a tallgrass prairie of whatever size—from home gardens to schoolyards to roadsides to large acreages—will benefit from the hundreds of photographs and drawings and the precise text in this meticulously prepared guide. -- Provided by publisher
Gregory A. Houseal
The intent of this manual is to provide basic information for native seed production of nearly 50 species of the tallgrass prairie flora of the upper Mid-west. The information presented is compiled from published accounts coupled with native seed production experience at the Tallgrass Prairie Center at the University of Northern Iowa. Critical to this effort were publications from the USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Program, published research articles and technical notes, and Internet resources. Botanical nomenclature follows USDA PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov).
Dana L. Jackson and Laura L. Jackson
The Farm as Natural Habitat is a vital new contribution to the debate about agriculture and its impacts on the land. Arising from the conviction that the agricultural landscape as a whole could be restored to a healthy diversity, the book challenges the notion that the dominant agricultural landscape - bereft of its original vegetation and wildlife and despoiled by chemical runoff - is inevitable if we are to feed ourselves. Contributors bring together insights and practices from the fields of conservation biology, sustainable agriculture, and environmental restoration to link agriculture and biodiversity, farming and nature, in celebrating a unique alternative to conventional agriculture. Rejecting the idea that "ecological sacrifice zones" are a necessary part of feeding a hungry world, the book offers compelling examples of an alternative agriculture that can produce not only healthful food, but fully functioning ecosystems and abundant populations of native species. Contributors include Collin Bode, George Boody, Brian DeVore, Arthur (Tex) Hawkins, Buddy Huffaker, Rhonda Janke, Richard Jefferson, Nick Jordan, Cheryl Miller, Heather Robertson, Carol Shennan, Judith Soule, Beth Waterhouse, and others. The Farm as Natural Habitat is both hopeful and visionary, grounded in real examples, and guided by a commitment to healthy land and thriving communities. It is the first book to offer a viable approach to addressing the challenges of protecting and restoring biodiversity on private agricultural land and is essential reading for anyone concerned with issues of land or biodiversity conservation, farming and agriculture, ecological restoration, or the health of rural communities and landscapes.