The wooded areas of the Prairie Fork Conservation Area in central Missouri are typical of the oak/hickory forest/prairie transition zone that will require active management to restore pre-settlement, grass dominated savannas and open woodlands to improve habitat for wildlife. We initiated a management program to restore savannas and woodlands by reducing the midstory (understory) canopy and invasive species using prescribed burns, mechanical removal, and herbicide applications. Two years after removal of the midstory and several invasive shrub species, canopy coverage remains over 90 percent; however, reductions in litter and enhanced light penetration into the understory have improved native plant diversity and density. Permanent plots are inventoried annually for reemergence of native species, especially for indicator species of savannas and woodlands. More than 150 native plant species including 27 tree species were identified in fall 2004 and spring 2005. The largest changes in diversity have occurred with the native early-successional woodland forbs, cool-season grasses, and sedges.
Navarrete-Tindall, Nadia E.; Van Sambeek, J.W.; Coe, Jamie; Taylor, Warren. 2007. Plant composition in oak savanna and woodland restoration at Prairie Fork Conservation Area in Missouri. In: Buckley, David S.; Clatterbuck, Wayne K.; eds. Proceedings, 15th central hardwood forest conference. e-Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-101. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station: 674-685.