By Carol Davit, MPF Executive Director
Thanks to supporters, MPF owns and manages some of the most biologically significant prairie remnants in the state. Key to sustaining the biological integrity of these sites is establishing baseline biological data and collecting and recording comparative data over time, to ensure that MPF prairie management is sustaining or improving biological diversity and ecological integrity.
In addition to having in-depth, botanical and bird surveys conducted on new prairie acquisitions to establish baseline data, MPF also collects information about many other species on an ongoing basis as provided by contractors or knowledgeable volunteers.
In 2022, with support from the Delta Foundation, Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration funds, and individuals who donate to the MPF Prairie Research Fund, MPF is collecting important data about pollinating insects, plants, leaf beetles, and birds at eight MPF prairies. Results of these surveys will be available on individual MPF prairie pages and on the MPF Research page, where links to past surveys are available.
MPF also carries out Community Health Index (CHI) surveys of its prairies. CHI surveys are a rapid assessment of the ecological integrity of a site. The Missouri Department of Conservation developed the CHI tool to facilitate more frequent monitoring of natural communities to ensure that biological integrity is maintained over time.
A peer-reviewed article on CHI written by MPF Technical Advisor Mike Leahy was published in the Natural Areas Journal, a national publication of the Natural Areas Association, in spring 2022 and that issue features a cover photo (pictured above) of MPF’s Linden’s Prairie Natural Area.
You also can contribute to the knowledge of what is living on MPF’s prairies by participating in MPF’s Citizen Science projects.