Lessons Learned about Research and Management: A Case Study from a Midwest Lowland Savanna, U.S.A.

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2008
Authors:Dettman, CL, MABRY, CATHERINEM
Journal:Restoration Ecology
Date Published:2008
ISBN Number:1526-100X
Keywords:Carex, Fringillidae, lowland savanna, Phalaris arundinacea, Quercus, research and management, Serinus, Serinus canaria
Abstract:Abstract Integrating research and practice is a fundamental challenge for restoration and conservation. Scientists recognize restoration as an opportunity to test basic ecological principles, and that core scientific practices such as establishing control plots, replication, monitoring, and data management are fundamental to learning from restoration and management. However, practical constraints inherent to many projects often work against fully integrating research and management. In 2005, we had the opportunity to evaluate a lowland savanna that had been undergoing restoration by The Nature Conservancy since 1997. We used the data generated as a case study to evaluate how the restoration process might have changed had scientists been involved from the outset. Prescribed fire is the primary tool used to restore upland savanna and was chosen by The Nature Conservancy to manage the lowland savanna. In open areas dominated by Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea), fire was associated with reduced cover of this highly invasive species and an increase in native species richness. However, other results suggested that management options beyond the use of fire are needed to restore this lowland savanna. In retrospect, an approach that integrated the skills of researchers and managers at the outset of the study would have altered many of the restoration goals and processes. Pretreatment data, greater replication, and systematically varying treatments could have provided a more robust assessment of treatment effects. We recognize, however, that impediments in staffing, funding, and time were barriers to following this course of action.
Short Title:Restoration Ecology
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith