Mesophication of Eastern Forests: A Problem as Big as the Word, with a Fiery Solution
Type: Talk or Demonstration
Join and interact with Dr. Andrew Vander Yacht as he describes how removing fire from forested ecosystems of the Eastern U.S. has negatively affected many plant and wildlife species, and how prescribed burning can be used to reverse these trends. The myth that a continuous, closed-canopy forest once stretched from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River will be dispelled by exploring the historical prevalence of fire-maintained woodlands, savannas, and grasslands throughout the region. Modern exclusion of fire has promoted cooler, wetter, and darker micro-environments in forests. These conditions are reinforced by the tree species they promote, and this process has been termed “mesophication." How mesophication has negatively affected disturbance-dependent biodiversity will be discussed, and the presentation will culminate in a message of hope--research results that demonstrates how management can restore lost and declining components of fire-dependent biodiversity in the Eastern U.S.
- Andrew Vander Yacht , Research Specialist , Forestry , MSU
Ages: All Ages
- Plant and Animal Sciences
- Energy and Environment
- Science Education