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Oak Ecosystem Restoration and Maintenance in Southern IllinoisAuthor(s): Charles M. Ruffner; John W. Groninger
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-73. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 177-181
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionOak dominance in southern Illinois appears to be a consequence of long term anthropogenic disturbances, including burning, grazing, and cutting. The increased prevalence of thin barked, shade tolerant species, such as sugar maple and beech on presently oak-dominated upland sites appears to be a result of the extremely low-intensity distur-bance regimes of the late 20 th century. Our preliminary work indicates that moderate intensity fall burns top-kill 40 percent of pre-burn sugar maple and beech seedlings [< 2 inches in diameter at breast height (d.b.h.)] and increase herbaceous cover between 15-25 percent. However, sapling sized stems are largely undamaged suggesting that burning alone will not effectively restore oak dominance. Thus, a replicated study has been implemented to test the effectiveness of periodic burning and partial cutting, alone and in combination, to control mesophytic tree species and regenerate upland oak stands. Vegetation dynamics will be assessed on a long-term basis to document the effects of fire and cutting towards maintaining oak dominated ecosystems.
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CitationRuffner, Charles M.; Groninger, John W. 2004. Oak Ecosystem Restoration and Maintenance in Southern Illinois. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-73. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 177-181
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