Monitoring Black Oak Savannas in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Authors: Sidney Noble*,
Topics: Biogeography, Environmental Science
Keywords: black oak savanna;GIS;ecosystem;change;forest;Indiana Dunes
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Northwest Indiana contains one of the rarest ecosystems, the black oak (Quercus velutina) savanna. An oak savanna is a wooded community with herbaceous groundcover and a tree canopy between 10 and 50%, consisting mostly of Quercus sps. The total number of oak-savannas in the Midwest has decreased by 99.8% in the past century. Today, the black oak savannas in the Indiana Dunes are under threat due to fire suppression and a decreased fire interval. This fire suppression has allowed some areas to transition to a closed canopy woodland, allowing shade tolerant and fire-intolerant species to take root. The purpose of this study was to compare different sites within the Indiana Dunes and document change from a 1990 study conducted by the National Park Service. Forest composition, canopy cover, and tree density were measured at three sites within the park that were historically black oak savannas.

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