Project ID



Iowa was once awash with native prairie vegetation, and now it is covered with annual crops. This project looked at the different effects these two systems have on Iowa's landscape and natural resource base.

Key Question

What are the environmental impacts of corn- and prairie-based systems on soil, water and air?


Results indicate that relative to corn systems, prairie systems reduced soil compaction, decreased soil water drainage, decreased nitrate leaching, decreased soil nitrous oxide emissions, and increased soil carbon dioxide emissions. Overall, the prairie systems had favorable environmental impacts relative to corn systems.

Principal Investigator(s)

Robert Horton


Thomas Sauer, Aaron Daigh

Year of Grant Completion