Skip to Main Content
Community-Level Impacts of Management and Disturbance in Western Michigan Oak SavannasAuthor(s): Jason R. Reinhardt; Linda M. Nagel; Christopher W. Swanston; Heather Keough
Source: The American Midland Naturalist
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
Download Publication (279.0 KB)
DescriptionMidwestern oak savanna systems are typically defined by their open canopy and the co-existence of scattered mature oak trees and a ground layer dominated by herbaceous vegetation. The structure of these systems is thought to be primarily maintained by disturbance such as fire. In this study we examined the plant community of 21 different oak savanna sites in western Lower Michigan, U.S.A., across a coarse disturbance gradient created by different management practices. Herbaceous community composition differed significantly across a variety of management approaches, while overall diversity remained similar. Indicator species analysis (ISA) identified several species commonly associated with mixed oak forest understories (e.g., Maianthemum canadense) as indicators for recently abandoned oak savanna sites, whereas the indicators identified for managed or heavily disturbed sites included common savannaassociates (e.g., Lupinus perennis). Variation in soil characteristics (C:N ratio and pH) and canopy cover may be driving these differences in plant community composition between management approaches. These results reinforce the importance of disturbance to Midwestern oak savanna ecosystems. Furthermore, if long-term management goals include encouraging the establishment and maintenance of herbaceous oak savanna-associated plant species, disturbance created through management activities, such as hand cutting, will likely yield better results over inaction, especially where using fire is not an option.
- 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.
CitationReinhardt, Jason R.; Nagel, Linda M.; Swanston, Christopher W.; Keough, Heather. 2017. Community-Level Impacts of Management and Disturbance in Western Michigan Oak Savannas. The American Midland Naturalist. 177(1): 112-125. https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031-177.1.112.
- Vegetative characteristics of oak savannas in the southwestern United States: a comparative analysis with oak woodlands in the region
- The fireoak literature of eastern North America: synthesis and guidelines
- Vegetative characteristics and relationships in the oak savannas of the Southwestern Borderlands
XML: View XML