Sorting through the seed bank: Ecology and applications to restoration

Soil seed banks; that is, natural storage of seeds from plants in soil for long periods of time, are extremely common across a variety of ecosystems. Because their composition is rarely known at a particular site, seed banks can result in the establishment of aggressive invasive plants or desired native plants once restoration activities begin. How can land managers understand and utilize something as seemingly intangible as the seed bank more effectively in the context of restoration? This presentation will provide a review of ecological studies to help the stewardship community understand what we know about seed banks and their application to restoration, and will share the story of a seed bank project applied to ongoing oak savanna restoration.

Subject Matter Level: 
Friday, January 15, 2016 - 1:15pm to 2:15pm
Dr. Lars Brudvig
Michigan State University: Plant Biology
Lars Brudvig is an Assistant Professor of Plant Ecology at Michigan State University in the Department of Plant Biology. His research investigates how human activities impact biodiversity and prospects for its restoration. Current research projects focus on plant community ecology and restoration of prairies, oak savannas, and longleaf pine woodlands.
Mitch Lettow
Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
Mitch Lettow is stewardship specialist at the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC). As such, he is tasked with stewardship matters for SWLMC's many preserves including habitat restoration, trails management, and volunteer coordination. Before coming to SWMLC Mitch worked for the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Michigan State University, Michigan Wildflower Farm, and Binder Park Zoo. Mitch received his B.S. in Environmental Biology/Zoology in 2009 and M.S. in Entomology in 2013, both from Michigan State University. In his spare time Mitch can be found doing anything that gets him into the out-of-doors including backpacking, botanizing, birding, running, eating bugs, poking nature, and fly fishing.