Savannas, Prairies, & Grasslands
For most conservation-minded citizens, a well-stocked forest of trees is the epitome of a healthy ecosystem . However, the majority of southeastern landscapes are actually a patchwork of different plant communities which may include upland hardwood woodlands, pine-oak savannas, bogs, rocky shrublands, riparian canebrakes, glades, and marshes. Because they are so easy to destroy or alter, native grasslands have diminished significantly in the last 200 years. Species that depend on these types of habitats have also predictably declined. Contrary to the level of support for reforestation, the preservation of grasslands continues to be neglected or simply unknown.
We are one pleased to offer a full suite of services focused on these types of habitats: consultation, design, enhancement, establishment, maintenance, and restoration. Please contact us to learn more.
First, let's have a look at the 3 major grassland community groups found in the southeast.
0-10 trees per acre
This ecosystem is nearly treeless and is dominated by a diversity of sun-loving grasses, wildflowers, and occasional shrubs. Repetitive intense fire, mob grazing, or flooding are the types of natural processes which historically maintained these openings. The majority of native prairies have been lost to agricultural production.
5-20 trees per acre
This type of community is an open grassland which is sparsely shaded by sporadic trees or small forest patches. It typically has more shrubs and herbaceous plants than a prairie, but not enough trees to be considered a woodland. Plant diversity is generally very high on quality sites due to the range of microsites available.
20-80 trees per acre
Not to be confused with timberland, this is a open canopy forest with enough scattered sunlight to allow for understory establishment. Trees are the dominate feature, but are supported by a mixture of ground plants. This type of management is often favored when seeking a balance between production and plant conservation.