HOW TO RECOGNIZE AN OVERGROWN SAVANNA REMNANT:
A GUIDE FOR LANDOWNERS
Brian W. Pruka
This poster is targeted toward landowners in Wisconsin's hilly Driftless Area and explains to them how they might recognize if a woods on their property is a former savanna or open woodland. It first explains what savannas are and how they were once abundant in southern Wisconsin. It describes how untillable savannas in the region were sparsely-wooded pastures maintained by light grazing and by fire purposefully set to improve pasturage. These practices inadvertently allowed for the persistence of oak savanna flora and fauna.
Savanna-adapted species have become increasingly rare over the
past 40 to 50 years as complete fire suppression has become
widely-practiced, but these species still persist along woodlot
edges, roadsides and other breaks in forest canopies. These
light-loving wildflowers are described as excellent indicators of
former savannas. Photos of several savanna-indicator plant species
will be displayed and a list of such species available for the
reader to take home., Management practices being undertaken in hopes
of reviving overgrown savannas are described. Information on local
volunteer groups available to advise and assist interested
landowners will be available.