CANCELLED: Response of Vegetation and Ecosystem Services to the Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Treatments

6 PM – 8 PM

Professor Amy Concilio and her students from St Edward’s University will present their research findings at our December 5th meeting at the AGE Building, in the St David’s Meeting room at 6 pm.

Native Texas prairies once harbored a vast diversity of plant and animal species, but have experienced severe declines due to urbanization, development, and agriculture. Remnant patches near Austin, TX, are now largely dominated by invasive grasses.  In 2011, a 40-acre restoration project at Commons Ford Metropolitan Park was initiated to control invasive grasses and reintroduce native prairie plants, including herbicide treatments, followed by seeding with a mix of 70+ native prairie grasses and forbs, and regular prescribed fire. Plant community composition was measured pre-treatment and every year post treatment from 2013-2019, first by volunteers from the Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Organization and, since 2017, by Dr Concilio and her students. In 2018-19, they also measured ecosystem services in the restored prairie compared to a nearby unrestored grassland still dominated by invasive grasses. They will present results from this multi-year experiment about changes in native plant biodiversity, pollinator abundance, soil fertility, and hydrologic functioning.

About the speaker: Amy Concilio is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at St. Edward’s University. She advises student research on restoration, ecosystem services of urban parks, and land management at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, Vireo Preserve, Blunn Creek Preserve, and Commons Ford Metropolitan Park. She teaches courses in Climate Change, Natural Resource Conservation and Management, Environmental Chemistry, and Research Methods, and serves as a faculty advisor for the Behavioral and Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Scholars Program.

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