Publication Details

Analysis of historical vegetation patterns in the eastern portion of the Illinois Lesser Shawnee Hills

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Jones, Suzanne L.; Anderson, Roger C.

Year Published

2011

Publication

In: Fei, Songlin; Lhotka, John M.; Stringer, Jeffrey W.; Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Miller, Gary W., eds. Proceedings, 17th central hardwood forest conference; 2010 April 5-7; Lexington, KY; Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-78. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 237-251.

Abstract

We used General Land Office Survey (GLO) records to reconstruct the historical (1806-1810) vegetation of the eastern portion of the unglaciated Lesser Shawnee Hills Ecoregion of the Shawnee National Forest Purchase Area in southern Illinois. Prairies occurred on 0.4 percent of the area and savannah, open forest, and closed forest occupied 14.5 percent, 25.4 percent, and 59.6 percent of the area, respectively. Average tree density and basal area for the area were 102 trees per ha and 13 m2/ha, respectively. Closed forest occurred at significantly lower elevation than savannah, with average elevation being 139.3 m and 147.1 m for closed forest and savannah, respectively. White oak (Quercus alba) and black oak (Q. velutina) were the two leading dominant species in all vegetation categories. Savannah had higher importance of xeric species than did closed forest, whereas mesophytic species had higher Importance Values in closed forest. Variation in fire frequency, topography, and moisture availability likely contributed to the landscape vegetation patterns, species composition, and tree density and basal area in the study area. High abundances of oaks and hickories and low tree densities and basal areas throughout the study area indicate that all vegetation types may have experienced periodic fires. Note: Figure 1 corrected on October 30, 2014.

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Citation

Jones, Suzanne L.; Anderson, Roger C. 2011. Analysis of historical vegetation patterns in the eastern portion of the Illinois Lesser Shawnee Hills. In: Fei, Songlin; Lhotka, John M.; Stringer, Jeffrey W.; Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Miller, Gary W., eds. Proceedings, 17th central hardwood forest conference; 2010 April 5-7; Lexington, KY; Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-78. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 237-251.

Last updated on: October 30, 2014