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Ecological Restoration. Burning South Prairie at Green Oaks - 2003. A (Very) Brief History of Ecological Restoration. Aldo Leopold planting at the Shack - 1936. CCC crewman planting Curtis Prairie - 1936. CCC crew watering Curtis Prairie – late 1930’s. University of Wisconsin Arboretum.

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Ecological Restoration

Burning South Prairie at Green Oaks - 2003


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A (Very) Brief History of Ecological Restoration






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The Founders of Green Oaks – Henry Green, George Ward,

Alvah Green, and Paul Shepard - 1955




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Pete Schramm

burning the

prairie



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Semi-natural habitat

  • Semi-natural has some human influence in maintaining its current structure and function, but still has all the species which would be expected to occur in the area in a natural state


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Conservation of Natural Areas

Conservation of natural areas and their associated biological diversity depends on two fundamental tools:

1. Keeping the natural areas that remain natural in the future - this is achieved by some combination of protection and management including purchase of lands by conservation agencies and wise stewardship of natural lands in both public and private ownership, with all management focused on maintaining or improving existing natural areas


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Conservation of Natural Areas

2. Replacing at least some of the natural areas which have been lost - replacing natural areas means putting a prairie or forest or wetland where it is presently nonexistent but where it once existed - such replacement is often termed reconstruction or restoration


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Ecological Restoration

  • Restoration - returns an area to its original species composition and structure by an active program of reintroduction, in particular planting and seeding of the original species - used when discussing sites where some remnant of original community still exists

  • Reconstruction - restoration where no remnant of original community still exists


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Among the objectives of various restoration projects are:

1. creating visually attractive vegetation

2. providing educational and possibly scientific interest in the community

3. safeguarding rare species or scarce ecological communities

4. constructing low maintenance landscapes


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Benefits of Restoration

  • There are many benefits to habitat restoration including direct economic benefits such as found for prairies, forests and wetlands in their timber value, recreational value or value of food harvested as fish or game

  • Other values include - genetic value of species from millions of years of natural selection

  • The scientific benefit of study of these ecosystems,

  • Wildlife habitat and food chain support,

  • Erosion and sedimentation control,

  • Carbon and nutrient retention,

  • Maintenance of biological diversity for future generations (heritage value)













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Good Habitat Restoration

  • Ground rules for habitat restoration and reconstruction can only be established once the objectives for each project are clearly stated and the appropriate site and situation for the project can be found - thus each restoration project will have its own ground rules and its own operating and management plan


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Good Habitat Restoration

  • For good habitat design we need to know much more about critical population sizes of the species concerned; the dispersal ability of organisms; the role of isolation and connectivity of ecosystems in landscapes; the importance of fertility in determining community diversity; and the relevance of gap size and disturbance in maintaining species-rich communities, to name only a few critical areas

  • Habitat reconstruction provides us with the both the tools and the laboratory to answer those questions


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Why Field Botany?

"Within a few weeks now Draba, the smallest flower that blows, will sprinkle every sandy place with small blooms.

He who hopes for spring with upturned eye never sees so small a thing as Draba. He who despairs of spring with downcast eye steps on it, unknowing. He who searches for spring with his knees in the mud finds it, in abundance….”

- Aldo Leopold


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Draba reptans – Common Whitlow-grass



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