Effects of Bison Grazing, Herbicides, and Mowing on Riparian and Wet-Mesic Plant Communities at Prairie State Park, Barton County, Missouri
Abel, Ted M.
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Prairie State Park, Barton County, Missouri contains high quality native prairies as well as areas degraded by invasive species. This study assessed the effects of a) selective herbicide application in combination with mowing on the plant community of a wetmesic prairie dominated by the invasive reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea L.; Poaceae), and b) bison grazing on riparian plant community composition. In spring 2011, 48 1-m2 plots within a reed canary grass dominated prairie were mowed and/or treated with graminoid-specific herbicide(s). These plots were surveyed in May and September, 2011. In addition, 120 plots were surveyed in May, July, and September in bison-grazed and non-grazed riparian corridors. To evaluate plant community characteristics, percent cover of each species present was recorded at each survey. Herbicide application led to an increase in native species cover, species richness, and diversity. Bison (Bison bison L.) grazing also led to a shift in community composition.