Roadside prairie and wetland restoration: mycorrhizal/plant factors
Iris D Charvat, Michael Smith, Jennifer White, Hamdy Agwa, Joel Tallaksen, Elizabeth Gould
Report no. MnDOT 1998-15
In this project, researchers studied mycorrhizal and vegetational characteristics at prairie and wetland restoration areas. Study objectives included the following: quantifying the effect of fungal inoculum on plant communities at a Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) prairie restoration site near Cambridge, Minn. evaluating the prairie forb germination rates monitoring revegetation at prairie and wetland restoration sites characterizing mycorrhizal status of native wetland and prairie areas for comparison to the restored sites producing fungal inoculum for incorporation into further reclamation areas. Findings indicated that 15 months after planting, fungal inoculation resulted in significantly greater cover by native plant species than seen in control plots. At this site, mycorrhizal inoculation benefited the prairie restoration effort by encouraging earlier, more extensive establishment of the planted species. Ongoing studies at this site will determine the long-term effects of mycorrhizal inoculation on the plant community. The report also presents specific recommendations for future restoration efforts. The studies of mycorrhizae in native prairies and wetlands provide further data for a baseline against which to compare restored areas. In addition, fungal inoculum produced in this project has been incorporated into restoration plots at another MnDOT site.