Skip to Main Content
Due to a lapse in federal funding, this USDA website will not be actively updated. Once funding has been reestablished, online operations will continue.
Forest change in the Driftless Area of the Midwest: From a preferred to undesirable futureAuthor(s): T.G. Knoot; M.E. Shea; L.A. Schulte; J.C. Tyndall; M.D. Nelson; C.H. Perry; B.J. Palik
Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 341: 110-120.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
View PDF (1.76 MB)
DescriptionIn the midwestern and eastern U.S., oaks (Quercus spp.) have been a dominant component of forests for at least the last 10,000 years, providing vital habitat for numerous wildlife and plant species that have adapted to oak forest conditions. However, the current state of these oak systems, in which there has been a general lack of successful oak regeneration and recruitment and an increase in the relative dominance of mesophytic species, may be nearing critical thresholds. If reached, restoring oak systems through natural regeneration and other methods, such as prescribed fire, may become especially challenging if not impossible. An understanding of spatial variation in oak dominance over time can inform and potentially improve the efficacy of intervention strategies. Using Public Land Survey and Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) inventories, we evaluated changes in the composition of timberland across ecoregional subsections in the Driftless Area of the Midwest at three time periods (pre-settlement 1800s, 1990s, and 2000s). We identified an overall decrease in oak dominance, and particularly dominance of the white oak (Quercus alba L., Q. macrocarpa Michx., and Q. bicolor Willd.) species group since the presettlement era, and an increase in other eastern soft hardwoods.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationKnoot, T.G.; Shea, M.E.; Schulte, L.A.; Tyndall, J.C.; Nelson, M.D.; Perry, C.H.; Palik, B.J. 2015. Forest change in the Driftless Area of the Midwest: From a preferred to undesirable future. Forest Ecology and Management. 341: 110-120.
KeywordsForest Inventory and Analysis, Mesophication, Oak forest, U.S. Public Land Survey
- Efficacy and associated factors of even- and uneven-aged management to promote oak regeneration in the Missouri Ozarks
- Oak mortality associated with crown dieback and oak borer attack in the Ozark Highlands
- Spatio-Temporal Trends of Oak Decline and Mortality under Periodic Regional Drought in the Ozark Highlands of Arkansas and Missouri
XML: View XML