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    Author(s): Dan C. DeyJohn M. Kabrick
    Date: 2015
    Source: In: Stanturf, J.A., ed. Restoration of boreal and temperate forests, 2nd edition. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press: 401-428. Chapter 20.
    Publication Series: Book Chapter
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.35 MB)


    There are various definitions for savanna and woodland in the ecological literature. Characteristic elements of each community are broadly defined and often overlap according to the authorities (Curtis 1959; Nuzzo 1986; Nelson 2010). Some confusion is inevitable when categorizing what is in reality a continuum of states from prairie to forest in which there can be much variation. Additional variation arises within each of these community types producing unique associations where composition and structure are further modified by site factors such as soil texture, depth, drainage, and parent materials, which control water and nutrient availability. Nonetheless, given sufficient distance between two points along the continuum, distinct communities are recognizable. Ground flora composition and species dominance, overstory tree density, and number of canopy layers are used to distinguish between savannas and woodlands. Community structure and composition are inter-related because overhead tree canopies and shrub layers modify the microenvironment, in particular available light, at the ground, which influences floral diversity and species dominance.

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    Dey, Dan C.; Kabrick, John M. 2015. Restoration of midwestern oak woodlands and savannas. In: Stanturf, J.A., ed. Restoration of boreal and temperate forests, 2nd edition. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press: 401-428. Chapter 20.

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