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Oak Savanna Restoration

Deciding on an optimal restoration strategy can be difficult.  We generally have multiple options at our disposal, each with advantages and disadvantages – both in terms of ecological outcomes and practical and financial constraints.  Some restoration methods are simply cheaper and easier than others and, while other strategies may be ideal for certain ecological goals (e.g., biodiversity of particular taxa).

With fire suppressed oak savannas, we are testing the outcomes of restoration by prescribed fire, tree clearing, and a combination of the two. This work has taken place through a long-running experiment at the MSU MacCready Reserve, near Jackson, MI, and through surveys of ongoing oak savanna restoration projects throughout the Upper Midwest.

Relevant publications

Bassett, T. J., Landis, D. A., & Brudvig, L. A. (2020). Effects of experimental prescribed fire and tree thinning on oak savanna understory plant communities and ecosystem structure. Forest Ecology and Management, 464, 118047. [link]

Lettow, M. C., Brudvig, L. A., Bahlai, C. A., & Landis, D. A. (2014). Oak savanna management strategies and their differential effects on vegetative structure, understory light, and flowering forbs. Forest Ecology and Management, 329, 89-98. [link]

Brudvig, L. A., & Asbjornsen, H. (2009). The removal of woody encroachment restores biophysical gradients in Midwestern oak savannas. Journal of Applied Ecology, 46(1), 231-240. [link]

​Brudvig, L. A., & Mabry, C. M. (2008). Trait‐based filtering of the regional species pool to guide understory plant reintroductions in Midwestern oak savannas, USA. Restoration Ecology, 16(2), 290-304. [link]

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