Case Studies of Fire in Oak Savannas and Woodlands


Hosted by the Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium, this two day field tour will visit four actively-managed sites in the dissected glacial plains of southern Iowa and northern Missouri. This area along the Iowa-Missouri border east of Interstate 35 stands out as a diverse mosaic of remnant prairies, savannas, and woodlands. 

CLICK FOR MEET-UP TIME/LOCATION AND MORE DETAILS  or contact Craig Maier (cmaier.tpos.firescience@gmail.com).

Join us for a two-day field tour and follow-up workshop in the dissected glacial plains of southern Iowa and northern Missouri. Some of the highlights will include ancient open grown oaks, revitalized habitats now home to game species and species of conservation concern, and the impact that dedicated private landowners can have on ecosystems that will not persist without active management.

This area along the Iowa-Missouri border east of Interstate 35 stands out as a diverse mosaic of remnant prairies, savannas, and woodlands. While there is a long history of fire suppression, the hill and valley topography has limited conversion to row crop agriculture.

During two days, we’ll visit an array of sites that allow us to explore various factors at play. We'll see sites with different levels of canopy cover, and the tour will also feature sites at different points in management - from sites without management interventions, to sites that have had initial treatments, to sites that have had long-term management.

The sites will also allow us to address how to assess a site’s potential, and discuss the transition from long periods of fire suppression to early stages of thinning and burning.

Site visits will include plenty of time for questions and discussion with land owners, biologists, ecologists, and researchers.

Topics include: 

  • fire ecology at the prairie-forest transition
  • returning fire to sites – effects of fire return interval and timing
  • multiple tools in restoration: basal area reduction and fire
  • fire regime: effects on oak recruitment and retention
  • interactions between fire and invasive species
  • biological diversity: response from flora and fauna

Presenters include: 

Site Managers and Biologists:

 

  • John Murphy, Missouri Department of Conservation
  • Gregg Pattison, US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Chris Woodson, US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Richard Erke, Decatur County Conservation
  • John Orvis, Private Landowner, Southern Iowa Oak Savanna Alliance

Ecologists:

  • Pauline Drobney, US Fish and Wildlife Service 
  • Mike Leahy, Missouri Department of Conservation
  • Krista Noel, Missouri Department of Conservation
  • Doug Ladd, The Nature Conservancy-Missouri (keynote speaker)

Researchers

  • Dan Dey, USFS Northern Research Station
  • additional researchers to be announced

Locations:

The sites are located between Lamoni, Iowa, and Kirksville, Missouri.

Tuesday evening social and keynote will be in Lamoni, Iowa.

Wednesday evening, optional post-field trip gathering in Kirksville, Missouri.

Post Field Event Meeting: Focus On Next Steps

On Thursday, June 16, we will convene in Kirksville, Missouri. This meeting is open to researchers and managers. Participants may often leave an intense field event or conference wondering, "What next?" or “How do I make sense of all these new information?” This gathering will be an opportunity to deepen understanding of the wealth of information delivered during the first two days. Providing time to dig deeper into lessons learned, ask questions, and explore areas of uncertainty, is a piece that's often left out, yet is important to processing new information and taking action.

A key goal is to document areas of disagreement and uncertainty. This activity is organized to help focus research on decision-making needs in these complex systems.