Investigators worked to identify and disseminate information to enhance riparian forest understory function through actions that reduce contaminant transport to surface waters and enhance terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity.
How does forest land use affect understory plant community composition and terrestrial nutrient capture, and is there a link between plant communities and stream water/stream habitat quality? What is the potential for reintroduction of key herbaceous species, based on species performance and landowner interest in restoration activities?
There were differences in plant community composition: Preserved forests had greater proportions of high-quality, native, specialist plants than grazed or urban forests, and greater biomass production and nutrient capture by understory plants. Stream water nutrient content (especially nitrate concentration) was higher in urban streams compared to grazed or preserved forests. Three key understory species reintroduced to urban forests demonstrated persistence and reproduction within two years, and interaction with forest landowners/forest managers indicated interest in forest restoration activities.
Jan R. Thompson
Cathy Mabry McMullen, Tim Stewart, Michaeleen Gerken, Randy Kolka, Zachary Keninger
Year of Grant Completion
Thompson, Janette R.; McMullen, Cathy Mabry; Stewart, Timothy W.; Gerken Golay, Michaeleen E.; Kolka, Randall K.; and Keninger, Zachary Aaron, "Getting the most from Iowa's forests: Linking forest understory composition to stream water quality and enhancing nutrient capture in forest remnants in agricultural landscapes" (2013). Leopold Center Completed Grant Reports. 419.