Impacts of management on tallgrass prairie insect communities
Johnson, Kelly N.
MetadataShow full item record
Habitat and biological diversity loss is a global concern. Ecosystems that once dominated parts of the world have been reduced to a fraction of their previous size. Work has been done to restore some these ecosystems, but the impacts of management techniques on all parts of the community are understudied. Tallgrass prairie ecosystems are managed with fire and seeding, or they are left alone. Sites that are left alone are considered passive management, whereas sites that are burned and seeded are classified as active management In this study, we assess the impacts of prairie management on insect diversity by comparing a group of sites that were actively managed and a group of sites that were passively managed. Sweep nets were used to collect insects at 12 different prairie restoration sites in Wisconsin. We showed that there was no significant difference in the number of families between active and passive sites. The passive management site had more diversity than the actively managed sites. When recently burned sites were compared to sites that had not been burned within the last year, there was also no significant difference in diversity, but the sites that had not recently been burned had a 44 families identified compared to 17 families identified in the site burned this year. More than one year after a burn is needed for insect diversity to recover. Passively managed sites might have had a more diverse group of insects, but that does not indicate the quality of the insects in that ecosystem. Further long-term studies should be done to completely assess the impact of active prairies management.