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FIFTEEN YEARS OF PLANT COMMUNITY DYNAMICS DURING A NORTHWEST OHIO OAK SAVANNA
 

Summary: FIFTEEN YEARS OF PLANT COMMUNITY DYNAMICS
DURING A NORTHWEST OHIO OAK SAVANNA
RESTORATION
Scott R. Abella1 and John F. Jaeger Lawrence G. Brewer2
Metroparks of the Toledo Area Department of Botany
5100 W. Central Ave. Miami University
Toledo, OH 43615 Oxford, OH 45056
ABSTRACT
Midwest oak savanna communities are noted for their unusual plant assemblages, but these com-
munities have been reduced by more than 98% because of changing land uses and conversion to
closed-canopy forests. We initiated an ongoing 15-year experiment in 1988 to restore a 40-ha black
oak (Quercus velutina) savanna by applying burn treatments that historically maintained this vegeta-
tion type. Groundlayer composition changed significantly for both the burn treatment and the con-
trol, with the burn treatment exhibiting slight increases in herbs such as wild lupine (Lupinus peren-
nis) and hairy puccoon (Lithospermum caroliniense), both of which are species requiring greater
insolation. Burn treatments differentially affected different plant community characteristics during
the 15-year period, with some characteristics such as sapling density decreasing and other character-
istics like species richness remaining comparatively unchanged. Oak overstory density was not af-
fected by burn treatments, and reductions in oak density of 33-50% are needed for consistency with
presettlement savanna structure to enhance the diversity of sunny and shady microsites characteris-

  

Source: Abella, Scott R. - School of Life Sciences, University of Nevada at Las Vegas

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology