Agricultural Land Fails to Recover Completely After Abandonment

Ecology and Environment

MSI PIs Forest Isbell (associate director, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (CCESR)) and Peter Reich (Regents Professor, Forest Resources), are co-authors on a recent paper that shows that abandoned agricultural land fails to regain biodiversity after nearly a century of disuse. The study examined abandoned agricultural land and compared its biodiversity compared to land that had never been plowed. The results indicate that, while native plants return to the formerly plowed land, they do not completely recover. The study was published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution and can be read on the journal’s website: Deficits of biodiversity and productivity linger a century after agricultural abandonment.

Professor Isbell uses MSI for research being performed at CCESR. Professor Reich uses MSI to support development of a global land model that is based on plant functional traits.