Homestead National Monument

Homestead National Monument provides a unique opportunity for studying prairie restoration. As the second oldest restored prairie in the United States, Homestead offers a well-documented history of restoration efforts, and comparison of restoration techniques.

The abundance and diversity of nematodes provides information suitable for estimating the state of the restored prairie soils. The succession of events in restoration projects involves numerous interacting biological and environmental components. What is observed above ground is only part of the story. The biological communities of prairie soils were formed over thousands of years. Disturbance of the soil, whether chemical, biological or physical, results in dramatic changes in those communities. Some organisms die out completely, wheras others invade and flourish. Slowly, over time, and in the absence of further disturbance, the soil communities begin to resemble their pre-disturbance state. It is this predictable succession that allows nematode communities to be used as a means for monitoring the restoration process.

For more information on nematodes and Nematology: Nematode.unl.edu