Application of Prescribed Fire and Herbicide to Reduce Carex pensylvanica

The Application of Prescribed Fire and Herbicide to Reduce Carex pensylvanica cover at the Newaygo Prairies Research Natural Area, Manistee National Forest, Michigan (INT)
Todd Aschenbach, Grand Valley State University
Additional Contributors: Pat Ruta McGhan, Matthew Sands, Manistee National Forest

Sand prairies, once an integral part of Michigan's oakpine barrens ecosystem, have been degraded mainly due to fire suppression and agriculture. Restoring these areas can increase biodiversity and improve ecosystem function. However, Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) a native, but sometimes-invasive sedge, threatens targeted restoration sites. This study investigates the impact of five site-preparation treatments that were implemented in 2013 in the Manistee National Forest, MI: fire, herbicide, fire followed by herbicide, herbicide followed by fire, and no treatment (control). Species richness, cover, and biomass from each treatment were evaluated in 2014. Results will be used to determine the most effective and efficient site-preparation methods for controlling Carex pensylvanica in areas slated for sand prairie restoration in the Manistee National Forest, MI.

Todd Aschenbach, Grand Valley State University
Todd Aschenbach is an associate professor in the Natural Resources Management Program at Grand Valley State University. His teaching and research interests include ecological restoration, soil science and fire management. He received his BS degree in natural resource management from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. Prior to graduate school, he worked as an environmental consultant in the Chicago area. Todd received his MS from the University of Kansas where he studied wetland restoration. He also received his PhD from KU where he studied tallgrass prairie restoration. Dr. Aschenbach did his postdoctoral research on longleaf pine savannah restoration at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. His research projects in Michigan focus on sand prairie restoration in the Manistee National Forest.