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1994 Proceedings
North American Conference on Savannas and Barrens


Brian W. Pruka
Institute for Environmental Studies
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53706

Living in the Edge: 1994 Midwest Oak Savanna Conferences

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.


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