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The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin's Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife$
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Donald M. Waller and Thomas P. Rooney

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226871714

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226871745.001.0001

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

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

Chapter:
(p.91) 7 From the Prairie-Forest Mosaic to the Forest: Dynamics of Southern Wisconsin Woodlands
Source:
The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin's Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife
Author(s):

David Rogers

Thomas P. Rooney

Rich Henderson

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226871745.003.0007

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

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