"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.
Many of the issues humans are currently struggling with have been sustainably negotiated by natural systems for millions of years. By studying nature’s patterns, processes, and relationships, we have the opportunity to gain insight into the effectiveness and sustainability of our own behaviors.
Many contemporary human group decisions appear to generate controversy. We will discuss aspects of group decision-making in nature, such as group cohesion and determination of appropriate deciders, and consider how these concepts can be applied to human situations. We will conclude by looking at examples of decision-making in small and large human group settings.
We will talk with Jeremy Solin, who works with ThinkWater in Wisconsin, and Eric Olson, the Director of the UW Extension Lakes, as well as our moderator, Lisa Brush of the Stewardship Network.
"Where you find lakes, you will also find lake organizations. Largely composed of shoreland home and cabin owners, lake associations and lake districts often fuel and lead efforts to protect lakes and restore water quality. The Wisconsin Lakes Partnership has developed a forty-year track record of providing state funding and assistance to aid lake groups in their efforts. This past year, researchers and
Wisconsin DNR staff stepped back to use system thinking tools provided by the ThinkWater School to reexamine the Lakes Partnership model and consider new educational tools to increase the effectiveness of local partners. This presentation will give a short overview of the ThinkWater approach to wicked problem solving, including the online system mapping tool, Kingfisher. We will also highlight some of the specific capacity development tools that UW Extension is creating using ThinkWater to facilitate on the ground success in protecting and restoring lakes."
Much of the eastern US is rapidly being invaded by the non-native grass Microstegium vimineum (stiltgrass), which first colonizes disturbed areas and along roads, trails, streams but also invades intact forests. This invader is being discovered in new locations and a rapid response to its early detection is critical to limiting its impact on natural areas. We will present data from multiple experiments that demonstrate the significant impacts of Microstegium on biodiversity and forest succession, and will provide an update on the pathogens that have been found accumulating on this invader. Removal of Microstegium from invaded sites can be accomplished efficiently using a grass-specific herbicide, which allows native species to return. We will share stories of early detection and rapid response to Microtegium by local and state groups and individuals, and will provide recommendations for identification and removal.
Early detection and response (EDR) is critical in the fight against invasive species. The Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) is a framework providing an early detection and response resources to public and private partners. This regional resource is designed to assist both experts and citizen scientists in the identification, detection and reporting of invasive species.
Thermal imaging is a technology that lets you see the world in an entirely new way - in terms of hot and cold instead of light and dark, which lets you see things you can't see with the naked eye. The technology has been around for a long time but it is only now becoming more affordable and available to those with limited budgets. Presenter and Stewardship Network member Callan Loo works with the world's leader in thermal imaging technology and will show you how everyday people are using it in conservation efforts, show you first hand how it works, and get you thinking about how you might use it in the near future.