Guest: Clay Wilton; Michigan Natural Features Inventory
"Natural resources agencies currently invest a significant amount of resources developing prescribed burn plans. However, many proposed burns are never implemented, and the current burn system does not systematically evaluate all stands. Given that funding for implementing prescribed fire is finite, it is imperative that proposed burns be informed by the best available ecological information. Through this project, Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) has worked in conjunction with Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division staff to develop a prescribed fire needs assessment for WLD managed lands in Southern Lower Michigan. This prescribed fire needs assessment model can be extrapolated for other agencies and other fire-dependent geographies."
"Were you told not to bother with common names of plants because they are so variable, and instead to learn Latin names, which – we were promised – would never change? If so, then you know that has proven to not be true! Aster is no longer the Latin name for all our asters! Little bluestem is no longer an Andropogon. What happened? Are plant taxonomists simply torturing all of us and hoping that we will keep buying new Plant Guides? What is the science behind these name changes?
Hemlock woolly adelgid is a small yet dangerous invasive insect that has become a big problem for hemlocks in Michigan and beyond. You can learn more about the species on Michigan.gov's website: https://www.michigan.gov/invasives/0,5664,7-324-68002_71241-367635--,00.html
Our guests this month are John Bedford (Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development) and Greg Norwood (Michigan DNR). Topics covered will include:
"Volunteers are key to most stewardship programs. During this webcast we’ll look at: How does the organization develop and maintain their volunteer program? We’ll be discussing how to run a stellar volunteer program for your organization, your impact, and your volunteers; how to evaluate and communicate what your volunteer program has to offer in order to recruit the best volunteers for the job; and how to match the best volunteer opportunity for your volunteers."
"This is the first book of its kind to bring forward the rich tradition of wild rice in Michigan and its importance to the Anishinaabek people who live there. Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan focuses on the history, culture, biology, economics, and spirituality surrounding this sacred plant. The story travels through time from the days before European colonization and winds its way forward in and out of the logging and industrialization eras. It weaves between the worlds of the Anishinaabek and the colonizers, contrasting their different perspectives and divergent relationships with Manoomin. Barton discusses historic wild rice beds that once existed in Michigan, why many disappeared, and the efforts of tribal and nontribal people with a common goal of restoring and protecting Manoomin across the landscape."
"The northern forests from Minnesota to New England have no native earthworms. European earthworms have invaded many of these forests, where they transform soil structure by consuming the organic horizon (aka duff layer) and compacting the A horizon. These changes in soil structure lead to alterations in nutrient and water cycles within the soil. There are many important ecological cascades emanating from these invasions, including concerns for conservation of native plant and wildlife species, losses of forest and crop productivity, facilitation of invasive plant species such as buckthorn and garlic mustard, and soil and water quality."
This month's topic is: "Garlic Mustard - 3 Tactics to Take it Out," with our guest Chuck Pearson, a key volunteer actively engaged in ecological restoration at The Nature Conservancy's Ives Road Fen in Tecumseh, MI.
"I have been working at the Ives Road Fen Preserve since 1999, leading a group of volunteers in removing invasives from and keeping them from returning to more than 450 acres of fen, forest, and upland. Invasives that we deal with include garlic mustard, dame’s rocket, glossy buckthorn, honeysuckle, phragmites, and cattail. We also plant native seeds to accelerate the return of native flora in former agricultural fields. The result is a wildflower wonderland that supports a wide diversity of native animals, and provides nourishment for the soul for visitors to the preserve."
Chuck will share unique insights in these key areas of garlic mustard control:
1) Herbicide Use: All the why's and how's of herbicide use.
2) Brushcutter Use: You've probably never heard of using a brushcutter for garlic mustard. Here’s how!
3) Ecological disposal: No plastic bag purchases or shipments to the landfill from our operation.
4) Follow-up Frequency: You are wasting your time if you only visit an area once.
Sustaining oak forests and restoring oak savannas and woodlands are increasingly common management goals in the Midwest and Great Lakes Regions. Sustaining oak forests requires successful regeneration and recruitment into the overstory. The regeneration potential of oak following a disturbance or harvest that initiates stand regeneration is determined largely by the size structure of oak before the event. Collectively, regeneration from (1) seed, (2) advance reproduction, and (3) stump sprouts contribute to oak regeneration but vary in their competitive capacity. Oak regeneration potential is modified by site, competitor regeneration potential and management input.
Prescribed fire is increasingly being used to promote oak regeneration with mixed results, and it is required to restore oak savannas and woodlands. Oak has many silvical traits that make it well adapted to fire. Fire can promote oak regeneration, but it also can reduce it, promote competing vegetation including invasive species, and retard oak recruitment into the overstory. Fire is a tool that can be used to sustain oak forests if it is applied judiciously with knowledge of oak forest ecology and stand dynamics, and with basic forest inventory information. Combining prescribed fire with thinning or harvesting can be effective in increasing oak regeneration potential and dominance in future stands, and it is a good approach to accelerating the restoration of oak savannas and woodlands.