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Touch of Nature Land Management Plan 2018 Preliminary Draft Presentation FOR: TONEC Staff Nov 27, 2018 Ruffner, Harper, Bergman, Holzmueller, Schumacher


Outline • Discuss Management Objectives common to TONEC • Briefly Describe Inventory Methods • Land Management Unit descriptions • LMU Prescriptions • Missing Layers • Timeline Ahead


Management Objectives •

• •

Increase our knowledge of the forest conditions and uses of the land at TONEC at Southern Illinois University and translate them to the wider community through outreach activities and walking path kiosks. Enhance the ecological integrity, health, and diversity of TONEC in a long-term projection to ensure access for future students, researchers, and teachers from the local community. Improve the delivery of outdoor recreation and resource based education to our students, guests, and community members. Increase awareness of our place in local environmental issues and develop a strong sense of place for SIUC students and visitors who come to TONEC.


Objectives [Continued] • Integrate management and research objectives into TONEC plans so that our forests continue to:

• sustain the water quality of our streams and lakes, provide cover and habitat for our many wildlife species, and offer a sustainable outlet for showcasing the health and productivity of our forest resources for generations to come.

• Coordinate management of hiking and wildlife corridors:

• that stretch from Giant City SP on the west boundary, across TONEC holdings, eastward to the Crab Orchard NWR Wilderness areas and southeastward into the Outdoor Lab areas around Water Valley Road and Rocky Comfort Road. • Monitoring and developing the resource capacity of these important corridors should be a major focus of our efforts in the next 10 years.

• Most of these objectives support multiple Resource Strategies shared by both the Illinois Wildlife and Forest Action Plans currently being administered and implemented by multiple agencies under guidance from IDNR, National Wildlife Refuge and US Forest Service field staff. • Others not offered here?


Field Methods • Collected Witness tree records from 18041810 annotated and mapped • Historical Photographs were analyzed for land-use acreages and old-growth location • Modern Aerial Photographs aided in mapping current vegetation types • Used GIS to analyze all time periods for land-use influences • 10 BAF Forest Inventory • Stand Ages linked to land use history Overstory, Mid-story and Understory Dendrochronology on tree cores Skeleton Plots for cross-dating cores


Inventory • Typical Forest Stand Assessments • Older-growth areas identified using tree rings and historic aerial photos • Stand Ages to identify past land uses including pasturage, row cropping, and forest cutting


Species frequency (%) of pre-European settlement forests from witness trees in Makanda Township, T9S, R1W 3rd PM, Jackson Cty, Illinois. Note: Other species include Morus rubra, Juglans nigra, Ulmus Americana, Olneya tesota and Sassafras albidum (representing < 2%). Species

Number

%

Ridge Top

Side Slope

Toe Slope

Quercus alba

112

46%

32

75

5

Quercus velutina

53

22%

35

15

3

Carya spp.

18

7.5%

9

8

1

Cornus florida

15

6%

5

8

2

Nyssa sylvatica

13

5%

3

10

0

Acer saccharum

11

4.5%

0

6

5

Fraxinus spp.

6

2.5%

1

5

0

Other species

13

6%

8

4

1

Total

241

100%

93

131

17


Stand Conditions OUTDOOR LAB LMU OVERSTORY CLASS

Outdoor Lab LMU Regeneration Class 90

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 White Red Oak Oak

Other

Maple Hickory

Cherry

Ash

0

Sapling Age Classes 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0


Age/Diameter Graph

35

30

25 Acsa Qual

20

DBH

Quru Qust Quve

15

Carya spp. Ulmus spp. 10

Pinus spp. Other

5

0 1750

1800

1850

1900

Year of Establishment

1950

2000

2050


Age/Diameter Graphs show the history of tree regeneration across the site • Oldest tree was a c. 1805 Post oak, in the Outdoor lab area • The lack of trees from 1805-1850 represent the loss of older trees to initial cutting of the landscape • That heavy cutting of the Post-contact landscape generated the many oak and hickory trees seen establishing between 1875 and 1950 • During those same time periods, many of our early successional stands were being row cropped or pastured by horses, donkeys, cattle, and hogs • Those animals impacted the species now found in these areas • Time of abandonment influences the amount of NNIS present


• This graph shows a steady regeneration pattern from late 1890’s up until 1970 • Understory cross-sections reflect in-growth of mesophytic species and near loss of oak recruitment • Mature oak canopies are still capable of regenerating in shelterwood and woodland restoration areas • NNIS control is usually necessary to allow for oak recruitment


Indian Creek Drainage • North Indian Creek LMU-aquaculture area and 7 Ridges Rx Burn unit • Successful 100 acre woodland restoration area • NNIS around aquaculture ponds needs consideration for control activities • Strong representation of future bike trails traverse this area

• South Indian Creek LMU- Upper 40 and NW portion bordering GCSP

• Most productive forest stands with oak regen under gaps in canopy • Primary area for teaching Forestry courses • Strong representation of future bike trails traverse this area

• East Indian Creek LMU-Area surrounding Ropes Course east of Giant City Rd

• Potential area for small sustainable timber harvest in core area of Indian Creek

• West Indian Creek LMU-Upper 40 Cabin, access to GCSP Stonefort area • Strong representation of future bike trails traverse this area • Underway and other uses of Upper 40 Cabin • Needs insulated and weatherproofed


Soil Erodability concerns for trail development


General Considerations • Species Composition- older stands were cut and regenerated to oak, more recently cleared stands (early Successional) have more NNIS and mesophytic saplings • Composition largely driven by past land uses and time of abandonment

• Diameter Distribution- Mature Oak stands have broad diameter distribution of trees representing oak recruitment for 200 years, whereas, more recently abandoned stands are strangled with 1000s of small diameter mesophytic stems • Current Treatments- oak woodland areas are being thinned from below to reduce competition to post oak and white oak overstories, with successful widespread herbaceous recruitment from soil seed bank • Next iteration of this Green Fund Project will be to ask for resources to fund 2 field assistants to begin implementing some of the management activities to be suggested by this plan


Positive Connections and Linkages • TNC sponsors 2 Strike Teams, one concerned with NNIS eradication and control and the FRST- Forest Restoration Strike Team, both of which conduct public meetings and workshop trainings at TONEC to outreach to local private citizens and smaller municipalities • Burning across boundaries with GCSP due to work of this project and coordination with Ben Snyder, IDNR District Forester and former Fire Dawg • In Camp I, the Stonehouse restoration treatments have been interpreted for over 25 visiting scientist workshops or field tours and countless Forestry, Plant Biology, and Zoology class field trips • This project has launched the careers of five, fine, young forestry professionals that add to the long history of inter-departmental interaction and shared success over the course of the tenure of TONEC • Recent connections with Tony Callabrese have opened up a link with TONEC’s early heritage • complete with stories and over 14K images reflecting the birth and early conditions of this place


Missing Layers • Archaeology Layer just being added now • Wildlife values for the landscape • Research project locations • Remote Campsite locations • Interpretation Program kiosks • Orienteering Courses • Elderhostels • Expanded trail networks • Others?


Timeline • Complete management prescriptions re:

-NNIS control, timber stand improvement treatments, tree plantings, prairie restorations

• Collate entire document including each LMU description and prescription details • Updating trail development maps as they are built • Update geodatabase for TONEC files and potential inhouse GIS person • Coordinate comment period for final document submission to Sustainability Council mid-spring 2019

Profile for Touch of Nature Environmental Center

Touch of Nature Land Management Plan  

A management plan for Touch of Nature's 3,100 acres of property submitted by Ruffner, Harper, Bergman, Holzmueller and Schumacher.

Touch of Nature Land Management Plan  

A management plan for Touch of Nature's 3,100 acres of property submitted by Ruffner, Harper, Bergman, Holzmueller and Schumacher.

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