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Monday, April 9 • 4:00pm - 4:15pm
SYMPOSIA-08: Succession in a Human-dominated Landscape: Lessons Learned for Land Management

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AUTHORS: Scott J. Meiners, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: The restoration of any habitat is really the management of successional processes. In succession, site qualities, species availability and the differential performance of species generate temporal dynamics. In restoration, site qualities are often manipulated as well as species availability, through direct seedling or planting. This is done with the hopes that the performance of species will respond to the manipulations and generate a community similar to the desired target. Data from a 60 year study of succession, the Buell-Small Succession Study (BSS), in suburbanized New Jersey will be used to illustrate successional processes and relate them to the Cook County Forest Preserve restoration project. Invasive plant species have been the primary conservation concern in the BSS, though most have been transitory in their dominance of the system. Invaders which inhibit key successional transitions or that are likely to persist at the successional endpoint represent strong candidates for control to optimize resource utilization. High densities of deer have also begun to limit forest recruitment and understory development of the BSS and will also likely be an issue for the Forest Preserve restoration. Initial survey data may yield suggestions for management, but temporal trajectories revealed through continued monitoring will be the strongest indicators of both success and developing issues. Above all, succession is context dependent, something that restoration has yet to grapple with sufficiently. The wide range of sites, conditions and contexts encompassed by the Cook County Forest Preserve restoration will allow unparalleled assessment of restoration approaches employed across a heterogeneous landscape. Continual analysis of vegetation monitoring data will also yield much information on a wide variety of ecological issues and plans should be made to regularly exploit this region-specific data set.

Monday April 9, 2018 4:00pm - 4:15pm CDT
Hancock Parlor