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Title:Assessing belowground biomass changes following land management and vehicle disturbance
Author(s):Fulton, Andrew
Advisor(s):Kalita, Prasanta K.
Department / Program:Engineering Administration
Discipline:Agricultural & Biological Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):military training
cumulative impacts
land management
M1A1 Abrams
Flint Hills
Fort Riley
Abstract:Military training is destructive by nature and removes vegetation, leading to excess soil degradation if not properly maintained. The Army in particular was interested in incorporating the cumulative effects of military training on vegetation into their land carrying capacity models. An understanding of the impacts and methods to reduce impacts would increase training throughput, minimize costs, and improve training realism. This study is the beginning of an effort to understand the otherwise unknown interactions of military disturbance and land management practices on belowground biomass. Military training effects on belowground biomass, the portion of the plant necessary for recovery, have not been researched exclusively previous to this study. Belowground biomass is inherently difficult to study because of the need to separate the roots from soil with minimal damage as well as identification of the root biomass to an individual species. In order to efficiently extract roots from soil cores, a new methodology was developed and implemented to reduce cost and obtain more accurate measurements compared to traditional hand washing and pneumatic methods. This study was done for two years at Fort Riley, Kansas which was comprised of a three by three factorial design with three levels of military impacts and three land management techniques carried out at two site locations with three blocks at each location. The study showed that light trafficking caused a 21% reduction in belowground biomass. Similarly, even with a year of recovery, there was still a 22% reduction in belowground biomass. After two consecutive years of trafficking a 45% reduction in belowground biomass was observed. Land management practices have been researched in the past, but many report conflicting results. This study found fire and mowing to increase belowground biomass compared to the control by 10% and 4% respectively. The interaction of the two is of chief concern to military land mangers when determining training land carrying capacity and deciding training schedules, management strategies, and allocation of resources for reclamation.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Andrew Fulton
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12

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