An interdisciplinary team of researchers from several ISU departments and collaborating institutions are investigating native prairie strips as a tool for improving the function and integrity of row-cropped farms. The project name is STRIPS (Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips). Formerly known as "the Perennializers," the team is showing that small areas of prairie, strategically placed on the contours and foot slope of a row-cropped watershed, provide multifunctional benefits for farmland health.
The STRIPS experiment began in 2008 on 14 small watersheds at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge. The project has attracted substantial attention and interest from diverse stakeholders, and is currently being designed for demonstration on private farmland.
STRIPS has moved into its second phase, implementation on public and private land throughout Iowa. See a map of current locations below.
goals of the Research Team:
Test the potential for obtaining multiple ecosystem service benefits (e.g., water quality, hydrologic regulation, biodiversity, production of commodity goods, quality of life) from watersheds supporting mixtures of annual commodity and perennial prairie plants
Provide new environmental and production knowledge leading to
adoption of new landuse practices,
policy enabling conservation enhancing practices and outcomes, and
improved environment (water quality, soil health and biodiversity improvements)
A Targeted Approach for Improving Environmental Quality, a 20-page color publication that makes the case for strategic use of trees, prairies and other perennials in key parts of the landscape to result in multiple environmental benefits and only a small change in overall agricultural production
ABOUT THE PROJECT:STRIPS scientist Mary Harris outlines how the STRIPS team designed their research, what they found and how landowners and farmers may get involved in testing this innovative and efficient new conservation practice.
Harvest Public Media asked Seth Watkins why he was adding STRIPS to his own farm in southern Iowa. Listen to the story [July 2013].
KMA Radio produced this 6-minute interview with Seth Watkins [August 2013].
LANDOWNERS: If you want to implement STRIPS into your operation, contact Tim Youngquist, firstname.lastname@example.org, 712-269-0592.
Research questions can be referred to Lisa Schulte Moore, ISU Natural Resource Ecology and Management, email@example.com, 515-294-7339; or Matt Helmers, ISU Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-294-6717.
The Leopold Center was established by the 1987 Iowa Groundwater Protection Act as a research and education center at Iowa State University to develop sustainable agricultural practices that are both profitable and conserve natural resources. Iowa State does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. Vietnam Era Veteran. Any persons having inquiries concerning this may contact the Director of Affirmative Action, 3210 Beardshear Hall, (515) 294-7612.
This page was found at http://www.leopold.iastate.edu/strips-research-team on 09/03/2015