The use of soil transfer with a native seed bank to control invasive plant species

Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name

131st Annual Meeting of the Indiana Academy of Science

Conference Location

Indianapolis, IN


Invasive species have become a standard, consistent problem in managed ecosystems. Such species often invade into disturbed areas, which commonly are a result of restoration or other management activities. In dredging open water bodies at Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve, artificial mounds were constructed with the soil removed. This movement of soil created a disturbance to allow for the recruitment and colonization of invasive species. The purpose of this study is to quantify the effectiveness of transferring a native seed bank in a recently restored mesic prairie, which would be lost to additional management, to the artificial mounds as a method of controlling invasive species. This study was conducted with greenhouse and field experimentation. Soil samples containing the seed bank was moved to a greenhouse to quantify plant emergence following different soil treatments. Intact and mixed soil treatments were applied to greenhouse soil samples. All emerging plant species were identified and counted. All treatment methods contained a high diversity of native species and a low diversity of invasive species with the exception of the seed bank soil mixed with soil from the mounds. The mound mixed soil contained a higher diversity of invasive species than other treatments. Prior to the field experiment, a plant survey of the mounds was conducted in July 2014. In October 2014, 960 m2 of soil was transferred from the donor site to the mounds. A post-move survey conducted in July 2015 indicated the native species diversity increased while the diversity of invasive species decreased. Soil transfer as a management strategy was appropriate in this situation where a large native seed bank in a donor region existed. By moving soil from one location to another, we were able to promote native plant establishment and reduce invasive species emergence.



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