Chapter

From the Prairie-Forest Mosaic to the Forest: Dynamics of Southern Wisconsin Woodlands

David Rogers, Thomas P. Rooney and Rich Henderson

in The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin's Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780226871714
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226871745 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226871745.003.0007
From the Prairie-Forest Mosaic to the Forest: Dynamics of Southern Wisconsin Woodlands

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This chapter examines changes in southern Wisconsin forests. It reports large declines in native plant diversity since the Curtis surveys, greater invasions of exotics, and more homogenization. Forest fragmentation and deer clearly play roles here, but so do the changes set in motion 150 years ago when fire suppression allowed oak woodlands to replace oak savannas. As tree canopies close with succession, these oak woodlands are further displaced by maples and other, more shade-tolerant trees. Shadier understories that rarely burn exclude, in turn, the oak seedlings that could regenerate oak woodlands along with the sun-loving forest herbs that once thrived there.

Keywords: native plant diversity; Curtis surveys; homogenization; forest fragmentation; deer; fire suppression; oak savannas; oak woodlands

Chapter.  4060 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biodiversity and Conservation Biology

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