Ridge and Swale Topography of Chiwaukee Prairie and How it Determines Soil Characteristics
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There are many different types of soils that can be found throughout a prairie. Chiwaukee Prairie, especially, contains a variety of soils throughout a changing topography. The prairie has ridge and swale topography, which can change what the soils consist of. In turn, this changes the texture of the soils, the water holding capacity, the nutrients, and the vegetation that grows in the soil. In the swales, the soils were expected to be a higher percentage of clay than in the ridges, along with a higher water holding capacity and higher nutrient levels than the ridges. This would have impacted the vegetation that grew in them. The vegetation was expected to be plants that are found in wet to wetmesic prairies in the swales of the prairie and dry to drymesic prairie plants in the ridges (Swink and Wilhelm, 1994). The results that were found in the testing was consistent with the hypotheses presented and the research that was done previous to this study.
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