The Nature Conservancy in Iowa is working to restore habitat on an 80 ac floodplain that is rich in biological diversity. The Nature Conservancy’s Swamp White Oak savanna, in southeastern Iowa, is the focus of this project. In the past, fire and seasonal floods limited plant growth and maintained the delicate ecosystem. Recently, however, inadequate fires have not limited growth leading to unnatural tree density. As a result, new oak trees have not had a chance to grow. In addition, floods have been so severe that they have interfered with native populations. Invasive plant species, including reed canary grass and garlic mustard, are also upsetting the natural balance of the savanna.
Research by Connie Dettman Rose will be used as a guide for the restoration plans. Rose has extensively studied survey records of native species.
“Restoration efforts will include opening of the closed canopy to a more savanna-like condition and invasive species removal. We will then return fire to the landscape,” said Jennifer Filipiak, director of conservation science for the Conservancy in Iowa.
For more information on this restoration effort, view the full article here.