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Research grant will help assessment of prairie seed banks


Brenda Molano-Flores, Illinois Natural History Survey

217-265-8167; molano@inhs.uiuc.edu


Released 1/23/2007

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Illinois Natural History Survey has received a grant from the Conservation 2000 Program to assess seed banks at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Will County.

According to principal investigator Brenda Molano-Flores, who is an adjunct professor of plant biology and of entomology at the University of Illinois and a researcher for the survey, the investigation will characterize the composition and viability of seed banks in remnant and restored prairies as well as old fields and cropland at Midewin. These seed banks will serve as benchmarks to measure the success of future prairie restorations and will guide restoration efforts in disturbed landscapes.

Molano-Flores and co-investigator Chris Whelan of the survey received $34,692 from the C2000 Program for an investigation from March 2007 through March 2009.

C2000 is a collaborative program overseen by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. C2000 seeks to preserve the natural resources of Illinois through ecosystem-based management and through protection and enhancement strategies matched to each ecosystem’s scale.

C2000 programs are designed to take a holistic, long-term approach to protecting and managing Illinois’ natural resources.

Two key criteria were established for new programs designed to preserve the natural resources of Illinois: they must be voluntary and based on incentives rather than on government regulation; and they must be broad-based, locally organized efforts, incorporating the interests and participation of local communities, and of private, public, and corporate landowners.