Grassland ecosystems often demonstrate very remarkable resiliency to severe natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Such resiliency following disturbances comes from either seed banks (germinable seeds in the soil) or bud banks (meristems or buds, such as bulbs, bulbils, and buds on rhizomes, corms, and tubers, that generate vegetative tissues). Although seeds are important for dispersal, initial colonization, and maintenance of genetic diversity; few grass seeds persist in the soil more than five years, plus seed production often is unreliable under grazing. Recent studies have demonstrated that >99% of aboveground stems in undisturbed tallgrass prairie were recruited from the bud bank while <1% were recruited from the seed bank. Even under grazed or disturbed sites in tallgrass prairie, belowground buds make a significantly larger contribution (80%) to plant recruitment than do seeds (20%).
South Dakota Grassland Coalation Grassroots
South Dakota Grassland Coalation
Xu, Lan, "Research Update: Bud Bank Ecology for Understanding Perennial Grass Persistence" (2016). Natural Resource Management Faculty Publications. 305.