Updated Prairie Restoration Handbook Now Available

AMES, Iowa—A handbook for establishing and managing prairies on farmland, Incorporating Prairies into Multifunctional Landscapes (PMR 1007), has gone into its second printing, and the updated version is now available from the Iowa State University Extension Online Store.

Meghann Jarchow and Matt Liebman from the ISU Department of Agronomy developed the original publication in August 2010 and updated it for a second printing in February 2011. They conduct research on multi-year cropping systems as part of a team supported by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Ecology Initiative. 

Less than 0.1 percent of Iowa’s tallgrass prairies remain, largely because their rich soil makes the land desirable for agriculture. Yet prairies can reduce soil erosion and water pollution, provide wildlife habitat and mitigate flood events. The full-color, illustrated publication explains how farmers and landowners might incorporate prairies into their land to restore ecosystem services and potentially gain economic benefits from livestock grazing, hay production and carbon sequestration.

“I have been delighted to hear how broadly the publication has been distributed and how well it has been received,” Jarchow said. “I hoped that the publication could be useful to a wide range of audiences, and I have received positive feedback from numerous individuals including farmers, conservation organization workers, and university extension personnel.” 

At least 1,300 copies have been distributed to organizations in several states, such as Practical Farmers of Iowa, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Service. The content has been used in ISU classes and also will be part of an Iowa State University Extension program called “Homegrown Lifestyle,” a 12-week course for people living on small acreages. 

The updated version, which includes a new resource for Midwest prairie restoration, can be downloaded or print copies requested at no charge at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/store/.

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) and Iowa State University Extension sponsored the printing.