by Elizabeth Bach
It’s not very often that prestigious national awards recognize the hard work and positive change happening to restore grasslands in North America. Last week was one of those rare moments. Dr. Lisa Schulte-Moore was named a 2021 MacArthur Fellow. The MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes referred to as the “genius grant,” is awarded to individuals in recognition of exceptional creativity, promise of important future advances, and potential to facilitate on-going creative work.
Dr. Schulte-Moore is a professor of landscape ecology at Iowa State University and the key driving force behind the Science-Based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips (STRIPS) project. The STRIPS project works with farmers to plant native prairie buffer strips within row-crop fields. Incorporating prairie plantings into 10% of a field can:
- Increase insect taxa richness 260%
- Increase pollinator abundance 350%
- Increase bird species richness more than 200%, including species of greatest concern
- Reduce water run-off 37%
- Reduce soil erosion 95%
- Reduce phosphorous loss by 90%
- Reduce nitrogen loss by 85%
The STRIPS program is integrating native prairie restoration within working landscapes as a tool to improve biodiversity and environmental quality across the Midwest and downstream.
The MacArthur Fellowship brings well-deserved attention to Dr. Schulte-Moore’s work. It also provides an exceptional opportunity for her emerging work, including continued efforts to scale-up the STRIPS project and adoption on the landscape. Congratulations!
Photo above is from our 2012 GRN workshop at Neal Smith NWR. This is a flume at one of the initial STRIPS trials. Flumes capture water run-off from a watershed catchment so they can measure soil, N, and P run-off from the whole field.
Learn more about Dr. Schulte-Moore and her work:
Schulte et al. 2017. Prairie strips improve biodiversity and the delivery of multiple ecosystem services from corn–soybean croplands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science