A “good” restoration year relies on more than just rainfall: Inter-annual variation affects initial dynamics of sown prairies

Ecological restoration can be prone to unpredictable outcomes, but what leads to this variation? For plant communities, conditions during the first year of restoration may contribute to variation among efforts by influencing germination and seedling survival; this, in turn, may impact the community that develops. We are testing this hypothesis, with a focus on the amount of precipitation received by newly sown prairie plantings, with an experiment that manipulates water for the first nine weeks in spring-sown tallgrass prairie plots, across multiple establishment years. Presentation by Anna Groves of Michigan State University.