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Monday, April 9 • 2:30pm - 2:45pm
SYMPOSIA-01: 35 Years of Community Change in Temperate Forest in Illinois

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AUTHORS: Maryam Gharehaghaji *, Emily Minor – University of Illinois at Chicago; Scott Kobal, Wayne Lampa – Forest Preserve District of Dupage County

ABSTRACT: Evaluating long-term dynamics of urban forests helps determine whether temperate forests are resilient to disturbances and informs choices of proper management techniques. We studied plant community composition change within 35 urban forest plots throughout 35 years (1979-2014) in Dupage county, Illinois. Field data were collected every 5 years by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. In this study, we explored the invasion by nonnative plants over time, the possibility of biotic homogenization, and the potential environmental, landscape and management drivers. In addition, we studied the change in occurrence of individual woody species over time. Our results showed that the woody species community has changed over time but has not become homogenized. Invasive species richness has increased over time. We found that management intensity has a significant role in driving community change and invasive species abundance and richness. In particular, increased deer control was linked to lower abundance and richness of invasive species. Additionally, lower abundance of invasive species was found in sites that were farther from agriculture, and lower richness of invasive species was found in sites with medium intensity management. Our analysis of individual species occupancy change showed that most nonnative species like Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), Norway maple (Acer platanoides) and buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) have increased over time whereas some native species such as Scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea) and Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) have decreased. Our work contributes unique insight into long-term forest management and plant invasions in an urban landscape. Management procedures should target invasive species by promoting medium intensity disturbance.

Monday April 9, 2018 2:30pm - 2:45pm CDT
Hancock Parlor