Effects of fire and herbicide on Carex pensylvanica in a degraded sand prairie in the Manistee National Forest, Michigan

Kate Alvarez
Grand Valley State University
Kate Alvarez graduated from Grand Valley State University in December, 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources Management. She has been involved in a faculty-led restoration project in the Newago, Michigan sand prairies since July, 2014. In 2015, she researched the effects of seeding rate of warm season grasses in a degraded sand prairie. Kate has been involved in other research projects at GVSU including invasive species mapping and polymerase chain reactions in Puerto Rican epiphytic ferns. She has also studied environmental problems faced by Native Americans in the Great Lakes Region.
Other presenters/researchers: 
Todd Aschenbach, Grand Valley State University; Matt DeJonge, Grand Valley State University; Justin Neuman, Grand Valley State University

Sand prairie was once an important and prevalent ecosystem on Michigan’s landscape but has declined in quality and quantity as a result of fire suppression, agriculture, and residential development. In the sand prairie of the Manistee National Forest, Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) aggressively established a monoculture severely lower plant diversity. We established a restoration in 2013 to evaluate effects of individual and paired applications of fire and herbicide for increasing native plant diversity. Five treatment methods were examined: fire only, herbicide only, fire followed by herbicide, herbicide followed by fire, and control. A total of five years is planned for data collection. Results from 2015 will be used to determine which treatment, thus far, is showing the greatest success in controlling C. pensylvanica.

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