Seed-stealing bugs threaten prairie restoration

Capital News Service
LANSING — Bugs hinder prairie restorations more than previously thought, according to research conducted at Michigan State University. The study found that arthropods — which include insects, spiders and crustaceans — account for the majority of seeds removed from prairie restoration sites. The study could catch a lot of attention in the prairie restoration field, said Mary Linabury, an MSU plant biology researcher who authored a study to be published in the Journal of Plant Ecology. “In the past, I don’t believe that managers believed that arthropods had much of an impact on seed consumption,” said Linabury, who conducted the research with Lars Brudvig and Nash Turley of MSU. “This study says otherwise.”
The findings have implications for every prairie restoration project, she said.

Help butterflies: plant native prairie plants

Capital News Service

LANSING — In flower pots or 100-acre lots, native prairie plants are increasingly important to butterflies and wildlife because in the wild, the plants are threatened by invasive species and human development. Only .01 percent of native prairie has been left unaltered in Michigan, according to Jennifer Howell, stewardship manager at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, a nature center near Hastings. The rest has been developed or turned into farmland. But now planting prairies is increasingly popular. “The institute is a hands-on destination for schools and other visitors to learn about prairies,” Howell said.