Woodland and tallgrass prairie restoration case studies
Two speakers present restoration ecology research published in the January 2020 issue of the Natural Areas Journal: Leighton Reid shares understory plant community outcomes based on twelve years of monitoring in a woodland mosaic in Missouri as it underwent restoration via prescribed, dormant-season burning and mechanical thinning of red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) and exotic shrubs. Reid’s case study suggests that understory plant recovery may be slower in harsher and more degraded sites and faster in more mesic sites within a woodland mosaic. Mike Leahy describes plant community changes documented over 20 years of prescribed fire, herbicide treatments of invasive nonnative species, and seeding of local ecotype prairie seed at Pawnee Prairie, a 190-ha mix of remnant tallgrass prairie and formerly row-cropped prairie in Missouri. The prairie restoration practices resulted in significant gains in the natural quality of the site’s vegetation, including a greater abundance of prairie flora matrix species and some conservative species.