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Prairie Restoration Effects on Near-Surface Soil Nutrient Changes Over Time in the Ozark Highlands Region of Northwest Arkansas

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: TheOzark Highlands is a unique botanical transition zone where native prairie andforest once co-existed, but conversion to managed agricultural landuse has severely reduced the extent of native tallgrassprairie. Quantifying soil nutrient changes over time can contribute to improvedunderstanding of the importance of soil fertility in prairie restorationsuccess. The objective of this study was toevaluate the effects of prairie ecosystem [i.e.,chronosequence of four prairie restorations and a native prairie (NP)]and soil moisture regime (SMR; aquic and udic) on the change in extractablesoil nutrients over a 12-yr period from 2005to 2017 in the Ozark Highlands region of northwest Arkansas. Soil Ca contentdecreased over time (P ≤ 0.05)in the 17-year-old-aquic and NP-udic combinations, which did not differ andaveraged ?55.7 kg?ha?1?yr?1, butdid not change over time in all other ecosystem-SMRcombinations. Soil Na content also decreased over time (P ≤ 0.05) in the 17-year-old-aquic combination (?0.7 kg?ha?1?yr?1), butdid not change over time in any of the other ecosystem-SMR combinations.Averaged across SMR, soil P content decreased over time (P ≤ 0.05) in the 17-year-old restoration (?1.6 kg?ha?1?yr?1),while did not change over time in the other three restorations and NP. Soil K,Mg, and Zn content changes over time did not differ (P > 0.05) among ecosystem or between SMRs. Soil nutrientchanges are manifestations of soil organic matter dynamics over time andcontribute to the inherent soil fertility status of an ecosystem, which needsto be balanced for proper ecosystem functioning and restoration success.

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